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Israeli Official: Trump Insists on Settling Differences with Palestinians

Israeli Official: Trump Insists on Settling Differences with Palestinians

Monday, 22 October, 2018 - 10:30
US President Trump meets with Palestinian President Abbas during the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2017. (Reuters)
Tel Aviv - Asharq Al-Awsat
US President Donald Trump had decided to alter a few articles of the “deal of the century” for the Palestinian-Israeli struggle, making “Jerusalem the capital of two states, Palestine and Israel.”

This prompted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pressure against this change as he wants Jerusalem as the capital of Israel alone.

Israeli sources in Tel Aviv stated that Netanyahu rejects the Trump administration’s attempt to appease Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in order to persuade him to return to the negotiating table.

According to Israeli diplomatic officials, US officials have been trying to figure out how to pacify Abbas, ever since the Palestinians boycotted Washington, while at the same time also get the backing of the Arab world for the peace plan.

Israeli officials are worried that one of the enticements the White House might present to Abbas would be naming Jerusalem as the future capital of the Palestinian state.

“Trump wants a deal and he's very serious,” a senior Israeli official said, adding that according to US officials, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is “relatively easy to resolve and is ripe for the picking.”

The official said that if the Republicans lose power in the upcoming midterm elections, Trump might increase his efforts to reach a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so he could run for his second term with a big foreign policy achievement.

Senior Israeli officials revealed that the Trump administration has been working off three principles in forming the peace plan: “anyone coming to the negotiating table would have to make concessions, there would be no one-sided concessions; anyone leaving the negotiating table would pay a price, and anyone rejecting the presented outline will risk the next outline being more to his disadvantage.”

In such a case, Netanyahu would likely ask to postpone the release of the peace plan until after the elections in Israel, according to the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

In any case, the newspaper added there are quite a few influential figures in Washington who would work to ensure such a promise will not be given to the Palestinians, including US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

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