Report: Trump asked Netanyahu if he cares about peace

Sources say Trump last year bluntly asked Netanyahu if he actually cares about peace.

Ben Ariel,

Trump and Netanyahu
Trump and Netanyahu

U.S. President Donald Trump last year bluntly asked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu if he actually cares about peace or not, Axios reported Sunday, citing three sources familiar with the call.

According to the officials, Trump was pressing Netanyahu on the importance of striking a "deal" for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). He had reportedly read news reports about Netanyahu planning to build additional settlements communities in Judea and Samaria. Thinking Netanyahu was unnecessarily angering the Palestinians, he bluntly asked Netanyahu whether or not he genuinely wants peace, according to the website.

A senior official in the White House told Axios in response, "The President has an extremely close and candid relationship with the Prime Minister of Israel and appreciates his strong efforts to enhance the cause of peace in the face of numerous challenges."

White House press secretary Sarah Hucakbee Sanders added, "The President has great relationships with a number of foreign leaders but that doesn’t mean he can’t be aggressive when it comes to negotiating what’s best for America."

The Trump administration has been hard at work on a proposal for peace between Israel and the PA.

A senior White House official said recently the administration has nearly completed its Israeli-PA peace plan but is still struggling to decide how and when to roll it out.

While offering few specifics for the plan, the official confirmed to Reuters it would not contain a U.S. commitment to a two-state solution, as the PA had demanded. It will instead stick to Trump’s assertion that he will accept whatever the two sides agree.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has refused to consider the Trump administration an honest broker for negotiations since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last December.

PA officials have repeatedly rejected the Trump administration’s peace proposal, claiming it was coordinated with Israel.

Netanyahu has continuously called on Abbas to sit down for negotiations. Abbas, however, has refused to talk without preconditions.

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