Strong views and “Close to the boss”: How the American envoy reshaped the conflict

Previous administrations, he said, fought only to bring Palestinians to the negotiating table. Waiting for the Palestinians to agree to talks before moving forward gave them a veto on the process, Mr Friedman said, which only encouraged them to adopt unreasonable demands.

“The flood of refugees to Israel? It will never happen, “he said. “The division of Jerusalem? It just will never happen. Is Israel renouncing certain parts of its biblical heart? It will never happen. “

He said the White House “injected a terribly necessary dose of realism into the Palestinian psyche about what is possible and what is not.”

Palestinians beg to be different.

Husam Zomlot, who headed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington until it was closed, said the feeling of Mr. Friedman for his achievements was a delusion. Far from increasing American influence on the conflict, he said, Mr. Friedman has reduced it to almost zero, all but destroying hopes for a two-state solution.

“He was an American mob in our Capitol,” he said, alluding to the recent uprising in Washington. “Same logic, same behavior. This is Friedman. And just as Congress did, the Biden administration will have to completely clean up under U.S.-Palestinian relations and the peace process. “

Mr Friedman argued that Trump’s peace plan by demanding financial transparency, human rights and other norms for Palestinians to gain statehood was in fact a “gift to the Palestinian people” that would “make their quality of life far more bearable”. . “Israel’s warm relations with Arab states,” he said, “would open the imagination of Palestinians to what could be.”

He also insisted that the Trump administration never sought to help Mr. Netanyahu’s election campaigns – although recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, in the name of a plum widely seen as a campaign gift, came just two weeks before the first vote.

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