President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday named David M Friedman, a lawyer who identifies with hardliners in Israel and stands in opposition to decades-long US policies with regard to that country, as his nominee for ambassador to Israel.
Friedman questions the two-state solution, which the US supports, backs new Israeli settlements in West Bank, which his country opposes, and said in a statement issued by the Trump team about his announcement that he looks forward to working from the American embassy in Jerusalem.
Except, the US embassy is in Tel Aviv, as are missions from India and other countries. Trump has promised to move the embassy to Jerusalem, which is currently claimed as capital by both the Israelis and the Palestinians.
The stated American policy so far has been to settle these conflicting claims through negotiations as part of a peace deal.
Asked about the timeline for the relocation, a Trump aide told reporters on Friday that there isn’t one yet.
Many US politicians running for the White House promise to shift the embassy to Jerusalem but tend to go along with the stated position once elected. Trump could change that, as has been indicated by aides after his election.
Friedman is known for aligning with the hardliners in Israel and has said, according to The New York Times, that it won’t be illegal for Israel to annex the occupied portions of the West Bank. He has compared those who oppose it to Jews who helped the Nazis during the Holocaust.