One of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s top Israel advisers, real estate lawyer David M Friedman, today claimed Trump was “committed” to Israel’s settlement expansions, and fully supportive of the idea of Israel annexing significant parts of the occupied West Bank.
Friedman assured that Trump was no longer supportive of the idea of an independent Palestinian, unless the state was created with “the approval of the Israelis,” and that he wasn’t worried about” the Palestinians in the West Bank, insisting “nobody really knows how many Palestinians live there.”
Back in February, Trump presented himself as fully neutral on the Israel-Palestine issue, a matter which drew considerable criticism, and since then he has presented himself as a more straightforwardly pro-Israel candidate, declaring himself the most pro-Israel person ever.
Former Secretary of State and Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton has not formally addressed the annexation question, and her own position on Israel has shifted around more than a little over her political career. At present, she too is trying to position herself as a favorable candidate to the far-right Israeli government.
Publicly, Clinton would likely be less likely to publicly endorse an annexation, since it would be wildly illegal under international law and provoke a major international backlash. At the same time, her efforts to brand as pro-Israel mean she probably wouldn’t kick up much fuss if the Israeli government went ahead with such a plan, particularly if it meant Trump getting the favor of the significant Israel lobbying factions in the US.