Trump: Israel will have to pay a ‘high price’ in peace talks
U.S. President Donald Trump said during a rally in West Virginia on Tuesday that Israel will have to pay a “high price” in its negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA) in return for his decision to move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Trump added that the PA will “get something very good” in return for the embassy move “because it’s their turn next.”
He did not offer any details on what the Palestinian Arabs will get in return for the embassy move.
Last December, Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and pledged to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The embassy relocated on May 14, the date in 1948 on which the State of Israel was established.
The embassy move angered PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who declared he could no longer accept the role of the United States as a mediator in talks with Israel.
In his remarks on Tuesday, Trump said that since Jerusalem is now “off the table”, Israel will have to give something in return to the Palestinian Arabs.
“If there’s ever going to be peace with the Palestinians, then this was a good thing to have done,” Trump said on the embassy move. “We took it off the table. In past negotiations, they never got past Jerusalem becoming the capital. So I said ‘let’s take it off the table’. And you know what? In the negotiations, Israel will have to pay a higher price, because they won a very big thing. But I took it off the table.”
“But they [the Palestinian Authority] will get something very good next, because it’s their turn next. We’ll see what happens. It’s very interesting.”
Trump also pointed out that he “understands now” why previous presidents did not follow through on their promises to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, saying he received endless phone calls from world leaders urging him not do it.
“I also recognized the capital of Israel and opened the American embassy in Jerusalem. And I understand now what happened, because every president – many, many presidents, said ‘We’re going to do it. We’re going to move our embassy to Jerusalem. It’s going to be the capital of Israel. We’re going to do it – and then they don’t do it. Politicians – they don’t do it.”
“I was inundated with calls from foreign leaders. Every country: ‘Don’t do it, don’t do it – please don’t do it.’”
“But I approved it, and it should have been done years ago,” he said.
The comments come as Trump’s administration continues to work on its peace plan for Israel and the PA.
Two weeks ago, a source said that the U.S. National Security Council has published a tender to hire experts for a steering committee to be established for the plan. The committee would allegedly be chaired by Middle East special envoy Jason Greenblatt, who is working on the peace plan along with Trump’s senior adviser, Jared Kushner.
According to the source, the administration would not be able to present the final peace plan until 2019.
National Security Spokesperson Garrett Marquis later told Arutz Sheva that the report was false.
Greenblatt last week posted a tweet about the peace plan in which he said that neither side will be satisfied with the proposal, but that was the only way to achieve true peace.
The statement, which was posted to Greenblatt’s Twitter in English, Hebrew and Arabic, was signed by him, Kushner, U.S ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman.