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Friday, February 10, 2017

Trump with interviewer Boaz Bismuth


Israel Hayom published a brief section from an exclusive interview with President Trump today. The full interview will be published Sunday.

When asked about the embassy move to Jerusalem, at first Trump sidestepped the issue: "I want Israel to behave sensibly in the peace process, and it should come after so many years. And there might even be a possibility for peace beyond an Israeli-Palestinian peace. I want both sides to behave in a reasonable manner, and then we have a good chance of that."

The interviewer asked again, and this time Trump answered, "I think about it. I am studying the issue and see what happens. It's not an easy decision. It has been discussed for many years. No one wanted to make this decision, and I think about it very seriously."

Trump also reiterated his opposition to Israel creating new settlements, saying I'm not one who believes that moving forward with settlements is good for peace, but we are exploring all sorts of options."

He also praised Netanyahu and said that he would not condemn Israel during his presidency.

As far as a final peace deal, he said ""Yes, of course [Palestinians will have to make concessions.] A deal is not good if it is not good for all parties. We have now been in the process for a long time, decades. Many smart people argue that it is impossible to reach an agreement. I do not agree with them. I think we can reach an agreement, and we need to reach an agreement. "

Jordanian media give King Abdullah credit for convincing Trump to be more reticent about the embassy move and settlement activity than he had earlier indicated. Al Monitor reports:

According to the Palestinian source, when the Palestinians discovered that Abdullah was scheduled to meet Trump in Washington during the traditional National Prayer Breakfast event, Abbas made a special trip to Amman. There he asked the king to pass on a message of reconciliation to Trump. “At the time, King Abdullah was not certain that he would meet with the president. But in any case, he was asked to pass on a message to the new US president if it became possible to do so. The message to Trump was a plea to take action as soon as possible to stop Netanyahu’s crazy settlement enterprise before it would be too late,” the source said.
On Feb. 2, Abdullah met with Trump and transmitted the message faithfully: Abbas is committed to doing everything he can to give the US administration all tools possible for opening a Palestinian dialogue with Israel, and that one-sided actions on Israel’s part would undermine these attempts. According to the source, “In the short time he had before the Hilton event, in his pleasant manner, and with well-reasoned explanations, King Abdullah reviewed with Trump the dangers of Israel’s unrestrained [settlement] policy. Abdullah explained that this policy is likely to lead to unwelcome flare-ups [in the region].”
Abdullah also told Trump in their short conversation that instability and violence in the territories is likely to cause the strengthening of extremist forces in the Middle East. In addition, he explained that if Israel’s settlement wave will continue at this rate, Abbas will not be able to conduct any kind of dialogue with Israel and that the two-state solution — which the United States officially supports — will never be realized.







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