Trump questions if Israel 'is interested in making peace'



Criticizing settlements is a pretty normal position for USA officials to take, but question Israel's willingness to make peace, despite many in Israel's government openly opposed to making peace, is almost unheard of, and likely to provoke a backlash, even though Trump did qualify it by saying he's sure the Palestinians don't want peace either.

The president criticized Palestinians for inciting violence between the two sides, saying he wasn't sure if they are looking to make peace at all.

"We have not and will not reject negotiations ever and we have said and we still say that we are ready to engage in negotiations, the formation of a multi-lateral mechanism that is produced by an worldwide peace convention is the most ideal way to broker such negotiations", the 82-year-old Palestinian leader said.

Trump's declaration prompted Abbas to formally declare that Palestinians would no longer accept the U.S. as a mediator to resolve the decades-long conflict as Washington is "completely biased" towards Tel Aviv. He said that "both sides would have to make serious compromises to reach a peace agreement".

Asked whether Israeli settlements would form part of the peace plan, he said: "We will be talking about settlements".

Al-Khalidi said that the Abbas-Putin meeting was "important" because it comes on the eve of the PA president's address before the UN General Assembly later this month.

The American president angered Palestinians in December when he recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and then threatened to withhold aid unless their leaders entered talks. This is combined with the establishment of a Palestinian state that includes over half of the West Bank area, all of the Gaza Strip and some neighborhoods in Jerusalem. Since then he has cut US funding to a United Nations agency that assists Palestinian refugees and threatened to withhold aid money to the Palestinians unless they resume negotiations with Israel.

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Palestine will continue to seek a full membership in the United Nations despite the U.S. veto which seems even more inevitable under the current administration, Nabil Shaath, the foreign affairs adviser of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told Sputnik.

"Russia and Putin can play an important role within the frame of an global forum for peace", said Majdi al-Khalidi, diplomatic adviser to Abbas.

Trump's ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has in the past been a supporter of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

In the interview, Trump said that his recognition of Jerusalem as the country's capital was one of the highlights of his presidency thus far.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and proceeded to effectively annex it, in breach of global law.

'I think Jerusalem was a very big point and I think it was a very important point, ' he said.

"I think it should be a bipartisan issue", Danon said Friday.

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