by Ido Ben Porat
Trump adviser David Friedman believes Republican presidential candidate would support Israel annexing parts of Judea and Samaria.
David Friedman, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's co-adviser on Israeli affairs, believes that Trump would support Israel annexing parts of Judea and Samaria, should he be elected.
In an interview with Haaretz, Friedman said that Trump would not adopt the stance that a Palestinian state is in the United States’ national interest, which was adopted by both Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
Trump is also not concerned about the possibility of a bi-national state. "Nobody really knows how many Palestinians live there," said Friedman, a 57-year-old Jewish man, has worked with Trump for the past 15 years.
As for the Republican candidate’s drop in polls, he was not concerned and claimed, “Things are not going downhill. Everything is fine.”
“The polls are extremely fluid. They don’t mean much at this point. People who study the polls tell us it is pretty even right now. There is a lot of work to do but nobody is discouraged by the polling,” he added.
Asked whether Trump supports the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, Friedman replied, “The answer is – not without the approval of the Israelis.”
“This is an issue that Israel has to deal with on its own because it will have to deal with the consequences,” he continued. “[Trump’s] feeling about Israel is that it is a robust democracy. The Israelis have to make the decision on whether or not to give up land to create a Palestinian state. If the Israelis don’t want to do it, so he doesn’t think they should do it. It is their choice. ... He does not think it is an American imperative for it to be an independent Palestinian state. “
Friedman said that Trump’s support for Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria stemmed from his understanding that the Israeli government “has a commitment to its citizens in Judea and Samaria” who moved out there with its agreement. Trump, according to Friedman, said Israel has to continue to build in Judea and Samaria because there is no reason not to do so.
Israelis “don’t have to wait another generation for the Palestinians to hold more realistic expectations and show less hostile motivation,” Friedman told Haaretz. “Trump’s position is that we have to deal with reality and not hopes and wishes.”
Asked whether he thinks Trump would object to Israel annexing parts of Judea and Samaria, Friedman replied, “I think there are parts of the West Bank that will stay part of Israel in any peace deal. I am sure he wouldn’t have any problem with that at all. Regarding the entire West Bank I think that’s a legal issue. I don’t think he will have a problem with that but he would expect Israel to continue seeking peace. He has no doubt that Israel wants peace.”
Ido Ben Porat
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