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Trump unsure Israel genuinely wants peace with Palestinians
12 February 2018, 05:44 | Devin Moran
Envoy: Malaysia not affected by Trump's aid threat over anti-Israel move
United States President Donald Trump called into question the commitment of both Israel and the Palestinians to making peace, and said that both sides would have to make "significant compromises" in order to reach a deal.
"Right now the Palestinians aren't willing to make peace, they're not", Trump said when asked about the long-anticipated revelation of his administration's Middle East peace plan. But when asked about the US peace plan, he said, "Right now, I would say the Palestinians are not looking to make peace, they are not looking to make peace".
Trump triggered global anger even from some allies when he defied advice against recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital by moving the American embassy there, a move analysts said had undone decades of efforts to foster peace in the region.
He says Jewish West Bank settlements "very much complicate" peacemaking.
Trump said he was not sure whether there would be peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, but said, "I think it is very foolish for the Palestinians, and I also think it would be very foolish for the Israelis, if they don't make a deal. We will see what happens, but I think it is very foolish for the Palestinians and I also think it would be very foolish for the Israelis if they don't make a deal", Trump said. "It's our only opportunity and it will never happen after this", he asserted.
He said he believes Israel is demonstrating "great sensitivity" in allowing the freedom to practice diverse religious beliefs at the holy sites that are located in Jerusalem.
Palestinian leaders say there can be no peace talks involving the U.S. administration until its decision on the city, whose eastern neighborhoods they claim for a future capital, is reversed. 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.
"I don't want to say that because you know, some countries maybe and some countries not", he said.
Despite his reservations about Israeli policy in Judea and Samaria, President Trump praised Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, calling him a "terrific leader".
Trump announced in December that he would formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital and move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, a promise several presidential candidates had made over the years but on which none had followed through once in power.
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