Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Friedman during his confirmation hearing. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman told a closed door meeting yesterday in Jerusalem that a massive evacuation of Jewish settlements from the West Bank could lead to a civil war in Israel.

According to three people who attended the meeting, of the conference of presidents of the Jewish organizations in North America and shared their notes with me, Friedman said that the approximately 400,000 settlers who live in the West Bank "are not going anywhere…and significant evacuation could result in a civil war. This is my opinion".

Friedman was asked if he thought the reason will be the refusal of IDF soldiers to obey the orders of the government. He explained that Israel’s military is more and more being lead by "Religious Zionists" who are committed to this land because they see it as their God-given Land.

The history

The future of the settlements is one of the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. When Israel pulled out unilaterally from Gaza it evacuated all 8,000 settlers who lived there.

In all previous negotiation rounds during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations there was a common understanding that in a future peace deal most of the Israeli settlements would be annexed to Israel and the rest will be evacuated. During several rounds of negotiations in the past, ideas were floated about some settlers staying in their homes as Palestinian citizens.

More from Friedman's remarks
  • The end of 2019 is an outside date for moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and it will happen sooner.  
  • The administration is realistic and is not overselling the prospects of a peace deal, but Trump is committed to trying to reach one. The administration does not believe that threats or pressure on Israel would help achieve a peace deal with the Palestinians.
  • The claim that a peace deal is needed to keep Israel as a Jewish and democratic state is a platitude because for 25 years people have been saying that and Israel has only thrived and prospered.
  • A peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians will be an achievement but it will not solve problems like ISIS or Hezbollah and for that reason security for Israel and the region is paramount.
  • There must be Israeli Security control in the Jordan valley (the border area between the West Bank and Jordan) in any future peace deal, otherwise the West Bank will turn into a second Gaza.
  • Israeli-Palestinian future relationship should be not a marriage but a divorce. But until now the Palestinians have not shown themselves capable of building institutions that will allow them to live in peace with their neighbors.

Update: Via a U.S. Embassy spokesperson: 

“The Channel 10 report is based upon three attendees at the conference who failed to provide much of the context behind Ambassador Friedman’s comments as well as significant additional and related remarks by the Ambassador. Ambassador Friedman made clear in his remarks that the President is committed to a comprehensive peace agreement that benefits both Israelis and Palestinians and that the U.S. is working on a plan to achieve that goal. As for settlements, the Ambassador believes that unrestrained settlement growth is not helpful for peace."

Go deeper

Updated 12 mins ago - Economy & Business

The next worker fight: Time off for Juneteenth

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Who gets paid time off to celebrate Juneteenth in the years to come will be uneven and complicated, if history is any guide.

Why it matters: Corporate America hasn't grappled with a new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was authorized almost 40 years ago. How they responded took years to evolve.

13 mins ago - World

UN assembly condemns Myanmar military coup

Protesters make the three-finger salute as they take part in a flash mob demonstration against the military coup. Photo: AFP via Getty Images.

The United Nations General Assembly on Friday condemned Myanmar's military coup and called for an arms embargo against the country, AP reports.

Why it matters: The rare move demonstrates widespread global opposition to Myanmar's military junta, which overthrew the country's democratically elected government and seized power on Feb. 1.

Pakistan PM will "absolutely not" allow CIA to use bases for Afghanistan operations

Pakistan will "absolutely not" allow the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to use bases on its soil for cross-border counterterrorism missions after American forces withdraw from Afghanistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan tells "Axios on HBO" in a wide-ranging interview airing Sunday at 6 pm ET.

Why it matters: The quality of counterterrorism and intelligence capabilities in Afghanistan is a critical question facing the Biden administration as U.S. forces move closer to total withdrawal by Sept. 11.