‘US will respect Israel if Israel respects itself,’ says former US ambassador

“Israel must do what is best for Israel, just like every other country does, and worry less about the reactions of others,” says former U.S. ambassador to Israel.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Israel’s government is making decisions as though it is managing an embattled Jewish ghetto in eastern Europe, not a modern-day economic powerhouse with one of the most advanced militaries in the world, a right-wing NGO said on Monday.

Regavim, an organization focusing on illegal, unpermitted Arab building both in Judea and Samaria as well as the Negev Desert, publicly chastised the current ruling coalition for what they say is a takeover of Area C.

After a query launched by Religious Zionism MK Orit Strook, Regavim discovered that around half of staff responsible for preventing illegal Arab building in Area C had been assigned to other positions within Israel’s Civil Administration.

“The State of Israel is behaving like a shtetl and not like a sovereign government,” said Regavim’s director, Meir Deutsch, in a strongly worded statement.

“We are facing a strategic challenge, in which hundreds of thousands of dunams of Israeli land are being taken over by a hostile foreign entity with the help of massive European funding. It is inconceivable that Gantz and Elkin’s solution is to approve a paltry number of appointments to meet this challenge and to squander the rest of the allotted personnel hires by assigning them to other tasks and other departments. This is a challenge that requires a multi-faceted response, not some amateurish, shtetl-like gesture.”

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“Regavim calls upon Ministers Gideon Saar and Zeev Elkin to demand the implementation of the coalition agreement and take proactive steps to halt the Palestinian Authority’s takeover of Area C,” he added.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who served during the Trump administration, said in an interview with JNS that Israel needs to respect its own right to sovereignty before expecting foreign powers to do the same.

“I believe that the U.S. will respect Israel if Israel respects itself. If Israel decides for itself what its long-range goals and values are—with regard to its boundaries or other critical issues—the world ultimately will respect it,” he told JNS.

“Israel must do what is best for Israel, just like every other country does, and worry less about the reactions of others.”

Friedman added that while annexation of Judea and Samaria was put on the backburner in order to secure the historic Abraham Accords normalization agreement with the United Arab Emirates, Israeli sovereignty in the areas isn’t entirely off the table.

“There isn’t any stipulation in the agreements with the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan that forbids Israel from applying full sovereignty to Judea and Samaria,” he said.