00:31 GMT23 February 2020
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    According to the US president’s national security adviser, Washington will not discuss the recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Bolton told reporters that while Washington understands Tel Aviv’s claims and position, there is no change in the US position on the matter.

    Radio Sputnik has discussed this with Dr. Yehuda Ben Meir, the head of the National Security and Public Opinion Project at the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies.

    Sputnik: The US president recently said that Israel will now have to pay a higher price in peace talks with the Palestinians after the embassy moved to the Holy City; what’s your take on this?

    Yehuda Ben Meir: I think we have to see what President Trump’s plan is. No one knows when this plan will be put forth. The president spoke about it even before he was elected and since he took office in January 2017, for over a year and a half the American administration has been working on this plan. Some people call it “the plan of the century” or “the deal of the century.” But, unfortunately, so far we haven’t seen anything, and as time goes on each time they report that it’s very eminent and that very soon they will present the plan. So, I think that people are beginning to doubt whether the plan will be really presented.

    READ MORE: Netanyahu Still Hopes US Will Recognize Israel's Claim to Golan Heights

    I think that he has made it clear, as everyone understands it, that any plan trying to reach a peace agreement or even any permanent agreement between the Palestinians and Israel evidently has to be something which is complex and has to have features in it some of which will be more acceptable for Israel, and some will be less acceptable; and the same for the Palestinians. I think that the president has said a number of times that both sides will have to compromise; and I think any logical individual realizes that in order to reach an agreement to solve a conflict which is going on a hundred years, certainly 70 years, since the creation of the State of Israel when seven Arab states attacked us and tried to destroy the State of Israel. Basically this conflict, even for a hundred-year conflict has to be something which involves serious compromises, but I don’t think the president had anything specifically he said; it was just a general remark which basically means that both sides will have to compromise. But, as I said, we have to wait and see what the plan will be, if and when it’s presented.

    Sputnik: Do you have any thoughts about the timing of the statement?

    Yehuda Ben Meir: President Trump makes many statements. He is a very serious user of the social media. There are a lot of tweets and a lot of statements. I don’t think there’s anything more specific now than let’s say a week before or weeks ago. At a rally of the Republican Party, of his supporters, in preparation for the mid-term elections he spoke about the excellent relations between the United States and Israel. So probably he wanted to give a more balanced picture and maybe that’s why he said what he said. I don’t think that there’s any specific or dramatic importance of the statement. It’s more or less a self-evident statement which he thought may have been appropriate at the rally that he was speaking at.

    Sputnik: When Donald Trump announced that he was moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem many critics spoke of so-called “special privileges” towards Israel from the American leader; do you think this really is the case?

    Yehuda Ben Meir: As President Trump has said correctly, many previous presidents have committed themselves before they were elected to moving the embassy to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is recognized basically by the whole world as Israel’s capital. For all means and purposes everyone knows that Jerusalem is the capital. They meet with Israel’s prime minister in Jerusalem. They deliver their credentials of the president in Jerusalem and speak before the Knesset in Jerusalem. It was an anomaly that didn’t make any sense for historic reasons related to some resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations over 70 years ago which was never implemented regarding the internationalization of Jerusalem that these countries didn’t move their embassies to Jerusalem.

    So, I think this was not something of a special privilege but it was something that stood to reason and should have been done a long time ago. By the way, I think that the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement also saying although they haven’t moved the embassy but they said that they basically recognize “Western Jerusalem” as Israel’s capital. So, basically, Russia has also recognized the fact that Israel’s capital is in Jerusalem. By the way, President Trump also said when he moved the embassy that he is not deciding the final borders of Jerusalem, which have to be negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians as Israel’s position is that Jerusalem must remain a united city. Basically, I think that the position is almost unanimous in the world. The US took an actual step of moving the embassy which simply made sense. It was the correction of an anomaly which every presidential candidate I think for the last 30 years has committed to do so but, because of various pressures, they didn’t do so. And President Trump decided to do the right thing.

    The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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