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Strong Views and ‘Close to the Boss’: How U.S. Envoy Reshaped a Conflict

Earlier administrations, he mentioned, had struggled merely to deliver the Palestinians to the bargaining desk. Ready for the Palestinians to comply with talks earlier than shifting ahead gave them a veto over the method, Mr. Friedman mentioned, which solely inspired them to undertake unreasonable calls for.

“A flood of refugees into Israel? By no means going to occur,” he mentioned. “Dividing Jerusalem? It’s simply by no means going to occur. Israel giving up sure elements of its biblical heartland? By no means going to occur.”

He mentioned the White Home had “injected a tremendously wanted dose of realism into the Palestinian psyche about what’s achievable and what’s not.”

The Palestinians beg to vary.

Husam Zomlot, who headed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington till it was closed, mentioned Mr. Friedman’s sense of his accomplishments was delusional. Removed from enhancing American affect on the battle, he mentioned, Mr. Friedman had decreased it practically to nil, all however destroying hopes for a two-state answer.

“He was the American mob in our Capitol,” he mentioned, alluding to the latest rebel in Washington. “Similar logic, identical habits. That’s Friedman. And simply as Congress did, the Biden administration should wipe the ground of U.S.-Palestinian relations and the peace course of utterly clear.”

Mr. Friedman asserted that the Trump peace plan, by setting necessities of economic transparency, human rights and different norms for the Palestinians to realize statehood, was truly “a present to the Palestinian individuals” that might make their “high quality of life way more bearable.” Israel’s warming relations with Arab states, he contended, would “open up the creativeness of the Palestinians to what may very well be.”

He additionally insisted that the Trump administration by no means sought to help Mr. Netanyahu’s re-election campaigns — although its recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, to call one plum broadly perceived as a marketing campaign reward, got here simply two weeks earlier than the primary of these votes.

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