Stressing his goal to bring about a peace agreement, Trump says that building new communities in Judea and Samaria is “not a good thing for peace,” but he won’t condemn Israel.
In a recent exclusive interview with Israel Hayom, US President Donald Trump, ahead of his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week, discussed his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and related regional issues. Following are excerpts of his statements.
“I understand Israel very well and I respect Israel. … I would like to see peace [between Israel and the Palestinians] and beyond.”
“I think we are going to have a better relationship [with Israel]. The deal with Iran was a disaster for Israel… I understand good deals and bad deals, but this deal is not even comprehensible. Beyond comprehension… They [Iranians] felt emboldened even before he [Obama] left office.”
Netanyahu “is a good man. He wants to do the right thing for Israel. He would like peace; I believe that he wants peace and wants to have it badly.”
“I want Israel to be reasonable with respect to peace. I want to see peace happen. It should happen. After all these years. … Maybe there is even a chance for a bigger peace than just Israel and the Palestinians. I would like to see a level of reasonableness of both parties, and I think we have a good chance of doing that.”
“I am studying the embassy [issue of moving US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem], and we will see what happens. The embassy is not an easy decision. It has obviously been out there for many, many years, and nobody has wanted to make that decision. I’m thinking about it very seriously, and we will see what happens.”
“They [settlements] don’t help the [peace] process. I can say that. There is so much land left. And every time you take land for settlements, there is less land left. But we are looking at that, and we are looking at some other options we’ll see. But no, I am not somebody that believes that going forward with these settlements is a good thing for peace.”
“No, I don’t want to condemn Israel. Israel has had a long history of condemnation and difficulty. And I don’t want to be condemning Israel… they have been through a lot. I would like to see peace and beyond that. And I think that peace for Israel would be a good thing for the Israeli people, not just a good thing, a great thing.”
“No deal is good if it is not good for everybody, and we are in that process, and we will see what happens. People have been in that process for many decades, and it has been going a long for a long time. So many people think it cannot be made. I have very smart people that … say a deal can’t be made. I disagree with them. I think a deal should be made, and it can be made.”