Washington’s ambassador to Israel said that lasting peace in the Middle East is always possible as the U.S. prepares to open its new embassy in the capital Jerusalem.
Ambassador David Friedman acknowledged Saturday that Palestinians will continue to protest the move but the decision has been made and it will go ahead as planned.
Mr. Friedman assured Fox News host Jeanine Pirro that the Palestinian mood “will change over time because they will understand that the United States continues to extend its hand in peace and people need to focus on what’s important, the quality of life, more infrastructure, more security, better hospitals.”
Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem has enjoyed bi-partisan support in Congress, as expressed in the 1995 bill requiring its relocation, though until now presidents used a waiver every six months allowing them to put off the move on security grounds.
The new location also acknowledges many basic facts about the Jewish state.
On Monday, America will lead the world again when we open our new embassy in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. pic.twitter.com/veCO61024F
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) May 12, 2018
Some of Judaism’s holiest sites are located in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and Western Wall in Jerusalem; the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron; and Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus.
Mr. Friedman said the U.S. “is there to help the Palestinians” and “there is no basis” to think the embassy move will work against peace.
“I think we’re gonna make progress,” he told Pirro who is in Jerusalem for the embassy opening.
Mr. Friedman confirmed that Trump will “be there on video” at the embassy ceremony and that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, a senior White House aide, will speak in person.