Trump Won’t Press Israel on Settlements, Says Top Adviser

YERUSHALAYIM -
A view of Beit El. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)
A view of Beit El. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

After eight years of playing “cat and mouse” with the Obama administration on a slew of issues — with the “cat,” Obama, serially condemning the “mouse,” Israel, for building in Yehudah and Shomron and fighting terrorism — Israelis are going to have to get used to a new, easier reality, said Jason Greenblatt, a senior adviser to President-elect Donald Trump. “Trump believes that Israel is in a tough position and it has to defend itself,” he told Army Radio in an interview Thursday. “Peace has to come based on a deal between both sides, and he does not plan to get involved in that deal.”

As news of Trump’s victory spread in Israel on Wednesday, right-wing activists hailed his election as an opportunity to expand Jewish settlement in Yehudah and Shomron — and they are not going to be disappointed, said Greenblatt. “He does not think there is a need to condemn construction in the settlements. Construction over the Green Line is not an obstacle to peace.”

Like right-wing Israelis, Trump himself argues that the reality in Gaza — where Israel abandoned its rule to the Palestinian Authority, enabling Hamas to turn it into a terror base — speaks for itself, said Greenblatt.

Jason Dov Greenblatt, named by Donald Trump as his top advisor on his Israel policy, meeting with Askanim in Flatbush in May. (FJCC)
Jason Dov Greenblatt (bottom C), named by Donald Trump as his top advisor on his Israel policy, meeting with askanim in Flatbush in May. (FJCC)

Trump has also expressed disagreement with the recent UNESCO resolution denying a Jewish connection to Har HaBayis. The President-elect recognizes Israel’s right to Yerushalayim and its place as the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Greenblatt added.

Greenblatt is the chief legal officer and executive vice president at the Trump Organization. He has been tapped by Trump as his top adviser on Israel.

In an interview Wednesday, David Friedman, an attorney who has worked with President-elect Donald Trump for decades and, during the campaign, advised him on Israel and Jewish affairs, told Army Radio that “Israel will have an extraordinarily good friend in the White House, one who will treat Israel with love and respect, and one who appreciates the miracle of Israel. It will be a very welcome change from the past eight years.” Friedman is likely to be named American ambassador to Israel, according to media reports.

Israel-U.S. relations were often tense between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu and Trump are friendly and ties are expected to improve.

Marc Zell, the head of Republicans Overseas Israel branch, pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem Old City on November 9, 2016, A day after US republican president candidate Dondald Trump won the 2016 american election. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** כותל העיר העתיקה ביקור ניצחון מארק צל המפלגה הרפובליקנית בישראל ירושלים
Marc Zell, the head of Republicans Overseas Israel branch, at the Kosel on Wednesday, after Dondald Trump won the American election. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)