Photo Credit: Shiryn Solny
: U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman (center) at the Zionist Organization of America's annual awards dinner.

Speaking exclusively with JNS, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Sunday night confirmed a report that the Trump administration is drafting an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

“We’re working very hard on it,” Friedman said of the peace proposal, in an interview at the annual awards dinner of Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) in New York City.

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“It’s hard to comment on it while we’re in the middle, because it’s delicate.” He added that more information about the plan will be publicized in “a few months.”

Friedman is on the four-person team drafting the proposal, along with President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, and Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell.

The New York Times reported Saturday that the team is consulting with U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem Donald Blome, as well as others from the State Department and the National Security Council.

The ambassador was among the honorees at the ZOA event.

Former White House senior counselor and current Breitbart.com CEO Steve Bannon was also honored.

Steve Bannon addressing the ZOA dinner.
Steve Bannon addressing the ZOA dinner.

“I am not a moderate, I’m a fighter,” he declared, “and that’s why I’m proud to stand with the state of Israel. That’s why I’m proud to be a Christian Zionist.”

Bannon said the “radical left” is trying to “nullify” the 2016 presidential election, adding, “President Trump needs our back because we’re a nation at war, and this war is only going to be won if we bind together and work as partners.”

Friedman told the crowd that while the U.S. is “the nation of my birth, the nation of my citizenship,” Israel “is the nation of my faith [and] no loyal American need apologize for loving Israel and urging our government to support it. Support for Israel is a quintessential American value.”

Iran’s nuclear program was a major theme at the ZOA dinner. Ambassador Friedman said that if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were asked for his three top foreign policy objectives, “he will tell you it is Iran, Iran and Iran.”

“This is not the same as saying ‘location, location, location’ when talking about real estate,” Friedman said.

“[On] Iran, there are three independent things to be concerned about: Iran as a nuclear power that threatens to annihilate Israel; Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism through Hizbullah and other proxies; and Iran as regional superpower expanding through Iraq, Syria and Yemen and filling the vacuum created by the defeat of ISIS.”

Upon accepting his own ZOA award, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) told the star-studded room of guests that Israel “must never stand alone” in its fight against a nuclear-armed Iran.

“Red, white and blue must stand beside blue and white,” Cotton said, referencing the colors of the American and Israeli flags. “We are in this fight together, all the way until the end. Remember the ayatollah’s chant – ‘Death to Israel’ and ‘Death to America’…. Our two nations have never ducked a challenge.”

The senator added that if forced to act, the U.S. can “totally destroy” Iran’s nuclear arsenal, and if the Iranians “choose to rebuild it, we can destroy it again until they get the picture.”

JNS

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