Hailing President Donald Trump as an optimist and a supremely talented negotiator, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said Wednesday the president aims to come up with a win-win structure for a proposed peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.“[Trump has] always been an optimist. He has better powers of negotiation and persuasion than anyone else I’ve met,” Friedman said in an interview with Channel 10. “Ultimately, he’s looking for that win-win, where everyone says we’re better off.”Friedman didn’t otherwise reveal new details on the peace plan set to be released within the next few months, saying only that there was “a lot of finalizing” going on and that substance wasn’t the only element the Trump administration is considering.Timing, he said, is also important.Further, the US Embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem hasn’t doomed an “ultimate deal” between the two sides, Friedman said, adding that Trump is uncomfortable not keeping campaign promises. The president’s sentiment is always “Let’s do the right thing, whatever it is,” he said.On Iran, Friedman reiterated the US position that its fight isn’t with the country’s people, but that the US would hold the regime accountable for pursuing nuclear weapons and for financing terrorism and military adventurism throughout the Middle East.
The ambassador praised Israel for containing the Islamic Republic in Syria, seemingly referring to Israel’s increasingly out-in-the-open preemptive strikes against Iranian targets in the war-tarn country. When pressed about whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin meant a growing Russian presence in the Middle East, Friedman said, “I guarantee he speaks more with the president of the United States than he does with the leader of Russia.”
14 killed in alleged Israeli airstrike on Syrian airbase, April 10, 2018 (Reuters)