US Amb. Friedman: Before annexing settlements, committee approval needed

He clarified that Israel would first need to present detailed maps to a joint US-Israel committee before receiving official US recognition of the move.

US Ambassador David Friedman (photo credit: MATTY STERN/US EMBASSY JERUSALEM)
US Ambassador David Friedman
(photo credit: MATTY STERN/US EMBASSY JERUSALEM)
WASHINGTON - US Ambassador David Friedman said Wednesday that applying Israeli law to all Jewish settlements in the West Bank is a "process that requires some effort."
His comments came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to delay a planned vote on Sunday to annex settlements in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley. 

Friedman clarified that Israel would first need to present detailed maps to a joint US-Israel committee before receiving official US recognition of the move.

"The agreement that we have with the Prime Minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] is that in exchange for Israel agreeing to freeze the territory that is allocated to a [future] Palestinian state and accepting our plan, we will form a joint committee to convert the conceptual map into more details, and calibrated, so recognition could be immediately achieved," the ambassador said.

"There will be a committee, it will work with all due deliberation to get to the right spot, but it’s a process that requires some effort, we need to see the dimensions to make sure it's consistent with the maps," he continued.

"I think everybody’s right," he said when asked about different statements [made by Netanyahu and others] about the timing of the move.

The "Israeli government will do whatever it has to do and then the committee would form, we will be presented as part of a proposal, we will consider it and make a decision. I won't speculate how long it's going to take," he said. 
 
Netanyahu will ask the Cabinet to vote to apply Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank at the next cabinet meeting, according to sources close to the prime minister. The next cabinet meeting is expected to be on Tuesday.

The move was hailed by many Israeli politicians including Defense Minster Naftali Bennett who said on Tuesday that history is knocking at the door and Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich who said that Trump is "God's messenger in the White House."

He said that the good parts of the plan, such as the annexation, should be grabbed now but that the part about establishing a Palestinian state should be rejected.