“When I come to Jerusalem, I now have a place to work,” David Friedman said. “Now we have an office.”
The U.S. ambassador to Israel granted his first interview in the new embassy in Jerusalem to Fox News’s Harris Faulkner Monday after the opening ceremony.
Starting tomorrow, the embassy will be fully operational, with over 50 staffers on board.
Opening Day is a celebration for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the country at large. Yet, as the ceremony got underway, hundreds of Palestinian protesters were rioting by the Gaza-Israel border. Israeli troops killed over 50 protesters and over 2,000 others were injured, making it the deadliest day in Gaza since 2014.
Critics charge that the symbolism of moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem prevents Middle East peace. Friedman rejects the notion.
“One, only the United States can broker an agreement,” he said. "Two, only the United States is prepared to provide the types of resources and the types of guidance the Palestinians need to improve their lives.”
“The Palestinians should understand this was not intended to provoke them,” Friedman noted. “It was intended to recognize Israel’s rights.
The U.S., he said, will continue to "extend our hands to them."
“There’s no substitute for the U.S. in this region,” he said. “We’re going through a rough patch but we will be back in a position where we will be discussing peace.”
President Trump shared that same sentiment in a prerecorded video for the embassy ceremony.
"Our greatest hope is for peace," he said.