U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman sought to clarify President Donald Trump’s statement last week that Israel would have to pay a “higher price” for the United States moving its embassy in Israel to Yerushalayim.
“The president feels that if the parties are lucky enough to be sitting in a room and making progress, he might say to the Israelis, ‘Look, can you do a little bit more? Look what we did for you. Is there something more that you could do?,’” said Friedman in a conference call with members of the American Jewish Congress.
Friedman continued, “It’s not that he has something specific in mind, but just that under the circumstances that the United States has engaged in really significant good faith efforts to strengthen Israel and strengthen its historical multi-thousand-year connection to Jerusalem, maybe the Israelis could make it clear by leaning in a little bit as well. That’s all it meant.”
“There is not, and there never was, any demand made of Israel that they do anything in exchange for the embassy move,” he assured.
Additionally, Friedman also said that the rollout of the Trump administration’s peace plan for Israel is “not imminent.”
“I would imagine that we will roll something out. I hesitate even to put a month on it because it has shifted as we continue to listen and talk to people,” he said.
Regarding rebuilding Gaza, the ambassador said, “There is no capacity to have peace with the Palestinians unless there’s peace with all the Palestinians, including the million-and-a-half in Gaza.” Therefore, explained Friedman, restructuring the area without the Palestinian Authority enables Hamas to still be in charge.
Said Friedman: “With all the failings of the P.A., if the choice is Hamas, we pick the P.A.”