A senior Trump campaign official: “I think there are parts of the West Bank that will stay part of Israel in any peace deal. I am sure he [Trump] wouldn’t have any problem with that at all,” besides, “Nobody really knows how many Palestinians actually live there.”
A senior official in the Donald Trump campaign has said that if elected president, Trump would back Israel annexing portions of the West Bank, the Israeli daily Haaretz reports.
In an interview with Haaretz, Trump’s co-adviser on Israeli affairs, David Friedman, addressed issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how the presumptive republican nominee would handle them if elected in November.
“I think there are parts of the West Bank that will stay part of Israel in any peace deal. I am sure he [Trump] wouldn’t have any problem with that at all,” he said.
Asked if Trump would support annexing parts of the West Bank, Friedman told Haaretz that “I would expect that he would. I haven’t had this discussion with him but I expect he would.”
Regarding the settlements, Friedman said that Trump recognizes Israel has a “commitment to its citizens in Judea and Samaria” and says that there is no reason not to continue building, said Haaretz.
Achieving peace does not need to focus on land, Friedman said
“There are always creative ways to allow people to live in peace. It is not always about the land. We don’t accept the idea it is only about land. Nobody really knows how many Palestinians actually live there,” he told Haaretz.
An independent Palestinian state, said Friedman, will not happen without Israel’s consent.
“This is an issue that Israel has to deal with on its own because it will have to deal with the consequences,” Friedman said in the Haaretz interview.
“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 [Trump] does not think it is an American imperative for it to be an independent Palestinian state,” he continued.
Trump’s viewpoint is that Israel shouldn’t have “to wait for another generation for the Palestinians to hold more realistic expectations and show less hostile motivation,” Friedman explained. “Trump’s position is that we have to deal with reality and not hopes and wishes.”
The Haaretz interview comes a day after Friedman said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should hold off on signing a deal for a new US military aid package to Israel until Donald Trump is president.
Friedman, in a Channel 2 interview cited by the Times of Israel, said that a military deal under Trump would be better for Israel and help Israel maintain its qualitative edge over other countries in the region. Trump would “in all likelihood increase [military aid] significantly,” Friedman told Channel 2.
Trump has previously called for scaling down the level of the US’s defense aid to its allies, even saying back in March that Israel should foot the bill for the military aid it receives from Washington.
Trump, 70, has taken a hit in the national polls of late and sparked outrage with comments about Muslims in the wake of the Orlando gay club massacre with less than a month to go before the Republican convention.
“Things are not going downhill. Everything is fine,” Friedman told Haaretz, adding that “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.”
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