Trump insists Netanyahu 'never wanted to make peace' with Palestine
Trump insists his Middle East deal between Israel and Palestine collapsed because Netanyahu ‘never wanted to make peace’ with Palestine – as war of words escalates between the two former leaders
- ‘I don’t think Bibi ever wanted to make peace,’ Trump told Israeli author Barak Ravid, it was revealed Monday
- ‘I think he just tapped us along. Just tap, tap, tap, you know?’
- Trump spoke highly of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas – ‘I thought he was terrific. He was almost like a father. Couldn’t have been nicer’
- The former president said that Abbas ‘wanted to make a deal more than Netanyahu’
Former President Trump claimed his promise of peace between Israel and Palestine fell through because Benjamin Netanyahu was not interested in peace, escalating new tensions between himself and the former Israeli prime minister, a longtime ally.
‘I don’t think Bibi ever wanted to make peace,’ Trump told Israeli author Barak Ravid, it was revealed Monday.
‘I think he just tapped us along. Just tap, tap, tap, you know?’
But in a piece for Axios, Ravid said that Trump spoke highly of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
‘I thought he was terrific,’ Trump said. ‘He was almost like a father. Couldn’t have been nicer. I thought he wanted to make a deal more than Netanyahu.’
Abbas reportedly told Trump he was eager to make a deal, while Netanyahu told him to wait.
Former President Trump claimed his promise of peace between Israel and Palestine fell through because Benjamin Netanyahu was not interested in peace
‘I thought he was terrific,’ Trump said of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (above). ‘He was almost like a father. Couldn’t have been nicer. I thought he wanted to make a deal more than Netanyahu.’
Peace between Israel and Palestine has eluded US presidents for decades, and in the beginning of 2020, Trump proposed a deal that would have been the most favorable to Israel since the Madrid peace conference in 1991.
‘My whole life is deals. I’m like one big deal. That’s all I do, so I understand it. And after meeting with Bibi for three minutes … I stopped Bibi in the middle of a sentence. I said, ‘Bibi, you don’t want to make a deal. Do you?’ And he said, ‘Well, uh, uh uh’ — and the fact is, I don’t think Bibi ever wanted to make a deal.’
But Trump also accused Abbas of ‘hugs and kisses’ behind closed doors and criticism in public.
‘When he went back home, he didn’t say the right things. He said much more warlike things than what he said to my face. … Maybe he felt, politically, it was good,’ Trump reasoned.
Trump also said that Netanyahu’s opponent, deputy Prime Minister Benny Gantz, would have been much easier to strike a deal with.
Trump said of Gantz: ‘I thought he was great. A really impressive guy. In my opinion, it would have been much easier to make a deal with the Palestinians [with Gantz] than with Netanyahu. The Palestinians hate Netanyahu. … They did not hate Gantz. It’s a big factor.’
Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign repeatedly said he had been told peace was not possible between Israel and Palestine.
‘I have been told by everybody that it’s not doable. Sheldon Adelson said it’s not doable,’ Trump said, referring to the late Republican mega-donor, whom he referenced repeatedly in our interview when discussing his Middle East policies.
‘The hatred is so great between the Palestinians and the Israelis. They learned from the first day to hate each other, especially the Palestinians toward Israel,’ Trump claimed. ‘And Sheldon was a great deal-maker. He said it’s impossible.’
And when Trump announced his peace plan in 2020, Netanyahu seized on the opportunity to annex parts of the Israel-occupied West Bank ahead of elections.
The White House was taken aback. ‘I got angry and I stopped it because that was really going too far,’ Trump told Ravid.
Abbas was highly critical of the plan – where proponents called it the ‘deal of the century, Abbas called it the ‘slap of the century.’
Trump came to the same realization that former Presidents Clinton and Obama did – that Netanyahu would stand in the way of a peaceful two-state solution. In a 2014 interview, Clinton said that Netanyahu was probably ‘not the guy’ who would make peace with Palestine.
Though the Israel-Palestine peace deal fell through, the Trump administration did broker a number of peace deals between Israel and four Arab states, a series of deals known as the Abraham Accords.
On Friday it was reported that Trump railed against Netanyahu for congratulating President Biden on his 2020 win, calling him disloyal and ungrateful.
‘I haven’t spoken to him since. F*** him,’ Trump said.
‘I liked Bibi. I still like Bibi. But I also like loyalty. The first person to congratulate Biden was Bibi. And not only did he congratulate him, he did it on tape,’ Trump told Ravid.
Netanyahu was not the first world leader to congratulate Biden and he waited more than 12 hours after the U.S. networks called the election to send his felicitations.
He did post his congratulations on Twitter and in a video on November 8, 2020, the day after the race had been called in Biden’s favor. In the post, he and Biden have had a ‘long & warm’ personal relationship for almost 40 years and sees him as ‘a great friend of Israel’ and looks forward to working together.
‘Bibi could have stayed quiet. He has made a terrible mistake,’ Trump said.
He accused the former Israeli leader of disloyalty, saying he had helped Netanyahu in his own elections by reversing decades of U.S. policy and supporting Israel’s claims over the Golan Heights, captured from Syria during a war in 1967.
In a separate Twitter post at the time, Netanyahu thanked Trump ‘for the friendship you have shown the state of Israel and me personally, for recognizing Jerusalem and the Golan, for standing up to Iran, for the historic peace accords and for bringing the American-Israeli alliance to unprecedented heights.’
Netanyahu defended his congratulator message.
‘I highly appreciate President Trump’s big contribution to Israel and its security. I also appreciate the importance of the strong alliance between Israel and the U.S. and therefore it was important for me to congratulate the incoming President,’ Netanyahu said in a statement to Axios.
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