US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel reflects the “best path for peace,” and those demonstrating against it failed to listen properly to his speech, the US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, said Thursday.
The president had not sought to prejudge any final-status issues in his address on Wednesday, which provoked widespread anger among Arabs and violent Palestinian protests, Friedman told Fox News.
Trump’s aim had been to “foreclose the fantasy that somehow Jerusalem could be disconnected from the State of Israel,” he said. “The president didn’t want the Israelis to show up at the bargaining table and be forced to negotiate for something that they already had.
“What he did yesterday was to simply speak the truth, and to develop for the first time a foreign policy based upon reality rather than fantasy.”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) December 7, 2017
Friedman, who insisted Trump’s speech had put the president “on the right side of history,” said the Americans were “obviously concerned” about the demonstrations that have broken out in the West Bank, Gaza and much of the Muslim world.
“We understand and expected the emotional reaction, the disappointment, but people who are demonstrating today did not listen carefully enough to the president’s speech,” he said. “The president remains committed to a peace process, to a good faith negotiation of all the final status issues.”
The US president, in his address, endorsed a potential two-state solution if acceptable to both sides, clarified that the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem must be negotiated with no change to the status quo at the holy sites, and noted the Temple Mount’s Arabic name, Haram al-Sharif.