Speaking exclusively with JNS.org, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Sunday night confirmed a report that a team from the Trump administration is drafting an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem on May 15, 2017. Photo: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv.
“We’re working very hard on it,” Friedman said of the Mideast peace proposal, in an interview at the Zionist Organization of America’s (ZOA) annual awards dinner in New York City. “It’s hard to comment on it while we’re in the middle, because it’s delicate.” He added that more information about the plan will be publicized in “a few months.”
Friedman is on the four-person team drafting the proposal, along with President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, and Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell. The New York Times reported Saturday that the team is consulting with U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem Donald Blome, as well as others from the State Department and the National Security Council.
The ambassador was among the honorees at Sunday’s ZOA event. Friedman told the crowd that while the U.S. is “the nation of my birth, the nation of my citizenship,” Israel “is the nation of my faith [and] no loyal American need apologize for loving Israel and urging our government to support it. Support for Israel is a quintessential American value.”
He added, “The United States government treats Israel the way it deserves to be treated: as a critical strategic and trusted ally in one of the world’s toughest neighborhoods. Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu and I agree that we have turned a page on the relationship between Israel and the United States. It is a change for the better.”
Following his remarks on stage, Friedman told JNS.org that American support for Israel is “becoming too tilted to one party (the GOP) and it’s got to get back to where everybody supports Israel.”
Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer offered a different take, saying that the “great commitment” characterizing current U.S. support for the Jewish state is “not necessarily a partisan thing.”
“The more the Middle East becomes a hotbed of activity, the more that the United States recognizes the importance of Israel and that we need to, on both sides of the aisle, stand strong with them,” Spicer told JNS.org. “At the end of the day, when you look at the position of the U.S. government on both sides of the aisle, I think you continue to see a steadfast support for what we need to do as a government to help and support Israel.”