Photo Credit: Matty Stern / US Embassy
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman speaks during the 16th anniversary memorial ceremony for the victims of 9/11 attacks in a memorial monument in the Jerusalem Hills

U.S. Ambassador to the State of Israel David M. Friedman had strong words of support for the Israeli settlement enterprise on Thursday (Sept. 28) in an exclusive interview with Yaakov Eilon of the Hebrew-language Walla! news outlet. But he tempered that message with the pragmatic fact that Israeli communities comprise a very small percentage of the actual land mass of Judea and Samaria.

“I think the settlements are part of Israel,” he said. “I think that was always the expectation when [United Nations Security Council] Resolution 242 was adopted in 1967. . . It was and remains today the only substantive resolution that was agreed to by everybody.


“The idea was that Israel would be entitled to secure borders,” he said. “The existing borders, the ‘1967 borders’ were viewed by everybody as not secure, so Israel would retain a meaningful portion of the West Bank and it would return that which it didn’t need for peace and security.

“So there was always supposed to be some notion of expansion into the West Bank, but not necessarily expansion into the entire West Bank. And I think that’s exactly what, you know, Israel has done – I mean they’re only occupying two percent of the West Bank. There is important nationalistic, historical, religious significance to those settlements and I think the settlers view themselves as Israelis, and Israel views the settlers as Israelis.”

Walla!: At least part of the settlements will have to go down as part of the deal. True or false?

Ambassador Friedman: “Wait and see.”

Walla!: When should we expect a plan – within months, within years – by the end of the year?

Ambassador Friedman: “I would speculate within months, but we’re not holding ourselves to any hard deadline, we’ll try to get it done right; not done fast.

Walla!: You tell me there’s progress going on.

Ambassador Friedman: “I think so. Yes.”


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.