According to reports, U.S. Ambassador David Friedman stated that in a U.S. brokered agreement with the Palestinians, there would be “no reason to evacuate settlements.”
Likud Knesset Member Rabbi Yehudah Glick told the media that Friedman made this statement during a meeting with leaders from Judea and Samaria to discuss Israeli-Palestinian economic ventures.
Har Hebron Regional Council chairman Yochai Damari, who was present at the meeting, commented on the U.S.-brokered negotiations.
“The reality of recent decades has taught us that any attempt to impose political solutions by people who aren’t on the ground and don’t breathe the conflict every day is doomed to fail, and the past two bloody decades are proof of this,” Damari said in a statement following the meeting. “Happily, reality has changed in our favor. Today there are people in the White House and in the embassy who really care about the State of Israel and the Jewish people.”
Rabbi Glick supported the business proposals as a path to coexistence consistent with the U.S. vision which “is working toward building peace rather than destroying communities.”
“The population here in Judea and Samaria understands that no one is going anywhere. We do not choose our neighbors, but we are here,” said Glick, a resident of Otniel in Samaria. “Neither the settlers nor the Palestinians will be disappearing so fast.”
At the meeting, Rabbi Glick was joined by prominent Palestinian businessman Muhammad Nasser in presenting plans for an industrial zone in Judea that will employ thousands of Palestinian and Jewish workers and a medical center.
“We are talking about a project between Israeli settlers and Palestinian businessmen who are going to develop it together for both populations and they will be raising the funds,” Glick said.
A spokesperson for the US embassy declined to comment on the meeting.
There has been much conjecture as to what form the long-awaited U.S. peace plan will take. Palestinian Authority officials have refused meet with representatives from the Trump administration since the announcement that the U.S. will open an embassy in Jerusalem.
A tweet by Jason Greenblatt, the U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations, seemed to imply that Israel may indeed have to evacuate settlements.
— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) August 15, 2018