USA officials reinforce Trump support for two-state solution

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The challenges of achieving an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal while PA President Mahmoud Abbas is still in power are "daunting", attorney David Friedman - President Donald Trump's pick to serve as the next United States ambassador to Israel - said at his Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Thursday.

Today (Thursday) in Washington, Pro-Palestinian protesters, some of whom were Jewish, disrupted the Senate hearing to confirm Trump's pick David Friedman as the new US Ambassador to Israel.

"A two-state solution, if it could be achieved, would bring tremendous benefits to both the Israelis and the Palestinians", Friedman said. "Because the zigs and the zags and the incoherence of the policy make it very hard to be reassuring to our allies - and our adversaries - about where the U.S. stands". "And in the aftermath of Oslo, terrorism has increased fourfold since before Oslo".

Meanwhile, at the UN, Ambassador Nikki Haley said the USA "absolutely" supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and anyone who thinks it doesn't is in "error". Author A.B. Yehoshua, considered an "intellectual giant" of Israel's left-wing, recently said, "I have believed in dividing the land for 50 years, and now I see that it can not happen".

The more we learned about the nominee, David Friedman, the more imperative it became to sound the alarm and to urge the U.S. Senate, including our own Senators Carper and Coons, to vote against his confirmation. Friedman replied that he would support either a two-state solution in which Israel was recognized as a Jewish state, or a one-state solution in which all that state's inhabitants and residents would enjoy equal civil rights.

"We believe the committee should satisfy itself that Mr. Friedman has the balance and the temperament required to represent the United States as ambassador to Israel, '" the letter reads.

The groups organized three separate letters this week to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: one each from over 600 rabbis and cantors, from Holocaust survivors and from Holocaust scholars, protesting the nomination and focusing on Friedman's use of the term kapo.

Senator Tom Udall (D- New Mexico) told his fellow senators at the hearing that Friedman is "profoundly unfit" to lead members of the State Department, and that he "might inflame the situation in Middle East".

When asked whether that was a change from what Trump said, a spokesman for Haley's office said, "Her point was just that we are open to whatever solution the two parties can agree to, which is what the President said".

But the organization which suffered from his harshest criticisms, J Street, has not received a call.

As J Street says in its anti-Friedman campaign, "Friedman is a friend of the settlement movement who backs unlimited settlement expansion" in Judea and Samaria.

Republicans on the panel also praised Friedman's longstanding support of Israel.

"I would be delighted to see peace come to this region where people have suffered on both sides for so long", he said, further stating "I do not support Israeli annexation of the West Bank".

Prior to the hearing, Friedman had called the two-state strategy a "narrative" and an "illusory solution in search of a nonexistent problem".

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