Middle East Monitor / January 9, 2020
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said yesterday that America’s next step, after recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, is the annexation of the occupied West Bank, Ma’an reported.
In a press conference held jointly with the Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett, Friedman said that he has been doing his best since he become ambassador to “fix” the issues which remain outstanding after the 1967 war.
“Since coming here l’ve worked to add one more item to a busy agenda: helping to find a fix to the issues that still linger from the Six Day War.”
There are three important issues, he said, Jerusalem, which US has already recognised as Israel’s capital and relocated its embassy to, the Golan Heights, which America has recognised Israel’s sovereignty of, and the West Bank.
“But it didn’t make peace with everyone and when we came into office the lingering issues included three of significant importance: the status of 1) Jerusalem, 2) the Golan Heights and 3) Judea and Samaria. We have approached them in ascending order of complexity,” he said referring to the occupied West Bank using its Israeli name.
He pointed out that the West Bank is the most complicated issue because of the large number of Palestinians living there, noting that the US would propose its vision for the solution, referring to the deal of the century.
“It does not obfuscate the very real issue that 2 million or more Palestinians reside in Judea and Samaria [the occupied West Bank], and we all wish that they live in dignity, in peace, and with independence, pride and opportunity. We are committed to find a way to make that happen.”
Friedman added that Israel “recovers” it from Jordan in 1967 after it had “occupied” it for 19 years.
“Jordan had occupied Judea and Samaria for only 19 years and almost no one recognised its rights to the territory,” he continued.