Friedman sets low expectations for peace process and Gaza

The peace initiative designed by two of the president's closest aides– Jared Kushner, and Jason Greenblatt – is "not imminent," Friedman said.

August 29, 2018 21:21
1 minute read.
US AMBASSADOR TO Israel David Friedman.

US AMBASSADOR TO Israel David Friedman. . (photo credit: LIOR MIZRACHI)


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WASHINGTON – US Ambassador David Friedman does not feel a sense of urgency to launch the Trump administration’s Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative anytime soon, and questions the extent to which Gaza can be resuscitated after 12 years under Hamas rule, the envoy recently said in an off-the-record call with an American Jewish organization.

Journalists were on the call unbeknownst to the ambassador and published its contents on Wednesday. As first reported in Jewish Insider, the envoy said that no "timetable" exists for the release of their peace plan and clarified that President Donald Trump does not seek a reciprocal move by Israel after the US moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May.

Trump, on a riff at a rally earlier this month, had suggested that Israel would pay a “higher price” for the embassy move in peace talks with the Palestinians.

But regional powers are no longer pressing the administration to reassemble peace talks like they once were, Friedman said. He suggested that other issues – Iran’s activity chief among them – have taken priority.

The peace initiative designed by two of the president’s closest aides – Jared Kushner, his son-in-law; and Jason Greenblatt, his special envoy to the conflict – is “not imminent,” Friedman said, according to the reports. He denied that the plan would be rolled out around the time of the UN General Assembly in New York next month.

In the meantime, the administration’s focus remains on mitigating a growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza – and potentially another armed conflict there between Israeli and Hamas forces. Friedman allegedly characterized the situation as a “disease without a cure,” amid a push for Arab allies to increase their humanitarian aid and contribute more to international bodies devoted to the Palestinian cause.

Friedman’s comments could not be independently verified by The Jerusalem Post, although a source did confirm that the call took place.

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