Trump: I thought the Israelis would do anything for peace, but I found it not to be true
In excerpts from interviews recently released on Saturday, former United States President Donald Trump offered more surprisingly candid views on Israel’s leadership during his tenure, a day after being cited in an astonishing assault on ex-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In the last recorded comments broadcast by Channel 12, Trump said he believed Netanyahu “did not want to make peace. Never done “; claimed he had prevented the Israeli leader from annexing West Bank lands (” I got angry and arrested him “); gave his favorable opinion on Defense Minister Benny Gantz ( ” I think [he] wanted to make a dealâ¦ if he won, I think it would be much easier â); and his evolving vision of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (âI [had] believed that the Palestinians were impossible and that the Israelis would do anything to make peace and an agreement. I found that to be not true â).
Speaking to journalist Barak Ravid earlier this year for an upcoming book, the ex-president commented on his efforts to mediate between Jerusalem and Ramallah, and his feeling over time that Netanyahu was not really interested in achieving it. to a regulation.
Trump said that when he came to power he asked Netanyahu for overtures to the Palestinians, citing the possibility of a construction freeze in the West Bank, but the Israeli leader often opposed it.
âBibi didn’t want to make a deal,â he said, using the nickname Netanyahu. Even more recently, when we offered the cards âas part of his administration’s peace plan, Netanyahu’s reaction has been: a deal.
âNow I don’t know if he didn’t want to do it for political reasons, or for other reasons. I would have liked him to say that he did not want to make a deal, instead ofâ¦. Because a lot of people have put in a lot of work. But I don’t think Bibi would ever have made a deal. That’s my opinion. I think the general [Gantz] wanted to make a deal.
Trump said he believed PA President Mahmoud Abbas “wanted a deal more than Netanyahu.” And I’ll be honest, I had a great meeting with him, Abbas, didn’t I. I had an excellent meeting with him. And we spent a lot of time together, talking about a lot of things. And it was almost like a father. I mean, he was so nice, he couldn’t have been nicer.
Trump recalled that he then told Netanyahu that âI had a very good meeting with Abbas. We can certainly make a deal. The response of the Israeli leader? âWell, let’s think about it. Let’s not go too fast, you know. After he started talking, I said, wait a minute, you don’t want to make a deal.
“And he said, ‘Well, uh, uh, uh. And the point is, I don’t think Bibi ever wanted to make a deal.
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“I [had] believed that the Palestinians were impossible and that the Israelis would do anything to make peace and an agreement. I found that to be not true.
Despite Trump’s frustration with Netanyahu, he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced the relocation of the US embassy there, leading the Palestinians to sever ties with Washington.
“I don’t think Bibi ever wanted to make peace,” Trump repeated. “I think he just patted us alongâ¦ ‘No, no, we want, we want’â¦ But I think Bibi didn’t want to make peace. Never done.”
Trump was much more positive in his comments on Benny Gantz, who in 2020 formed a power-sharing government with Netanyahu, and was supposed to succeed him as prime minister after a set period of time (the deal was never honored, the government collapsed, and new elections ousted Netanyahu from power).
âSo Benny Gantz. I really like him. I thought he was awesome. He came to the White House. He was someone with whom, in my opinion, it would have been much easier to strike a deal with the Palestiniansâ¦ The Palestinians hate Netanyahu. They hate him with passion. They didn’t hate Gantz. They didn’t hate him.
âI liked the general a lot. I actually told Jared [Kushner] and David [Friedman], that if he became the guy, if he won, I think it would be a lot easier, âTrump said, referring to his son-in-law and advisor and his ambassador to Israel, respectively.
When Trump announced his peace plan in January 2020, Netanyahu immediately claimed that the administration had given its consent to Israel to annex large chunks of the West Bank containing Israeli settlements, to the jubilation of the Israeli right and to the alarm of Palestinians and many international observers.
But Washington quickly expressed reservations, and over time it became clear that the supposed green light had in fact not been given. Israel eventually abandoned the annexation plan as part of its deal to normalize relations with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain later that year, under the auspices of the United States.
Trump, in the interview, said he himself had stopped the Israeli annexation plan.
âI got angry and stopped him, because it was going really too far. It was going way too far, you know, when [Netanyahu] said the big ‘Let’s build. Let’s take it all and start building on it. We were not happy with this.
Trump also spoke about his popularity in Israel, one of the only countries in the world where he has always had favorable ratings.
âIn Israel, I am the most popular personâ¦ Who are the 20% [in Israel who donât support me] who are so ungrateful? They are bad people.
Trump spoke with Ravid in April and July for the journalist’s new Hebrew book, “Trump’s Peace,” on the Abrahamic Accord Normalization Agreements between Israel and the Arab States, which were negotiated under the administration. Trump.
Excerpts from the interviews were also published on Friday by the Yedioth Ahronoth daily and by Channel 12, ahead of the book’s release.
In excerpts released Friday, Trump attacked Netanyahu for ostensibly praising Joe Biden hours after he was declared the winner in the 2020 election by all major news outlets.
âIt was very early. Like earlier than most. I haven’t spoken to him since. Fuck him, âTrump said.
âNobody did more for Bibi. And I loved Bibi. I still love Bibi, âTrump said, referring to Netanyahu by his nickname. He was “the man I have done more for than anyone I have dealt with”.
âBut I also like loyalty. The first person to congratulate Biden was Bibi. And not only did he praise it, he did it on tape. And it was on tape.
Netanyahu was actually late enough to congratulate Biden in November of last year, ostensibly working such long hours after many other world leaders.
Trump said his decision to pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran – which the current administration is seeking to revert to – was “because of my relationship with Israel,” rather than personal ties to Netanyahu.
And he claimed that if he hadn’t, “I think Israel might have been destroyed by now.”
“Now Biden is going back on the deal because he has no idea. The Israelis fought this deal and Obama didn’t listen to them. The decision to back off the deal was due to my relationship with Israel – not with Bibi These were my feelings towards Israel.
Trump also said he saved Netanyahu in the April 2019 Israeli election by recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory. The election was the first of four inconclusive national elections in two years of political chaos that lasted until Netanyahu was removed from power by the current government.
âTake the Golan for example,â Trump said. âIt was a big deal. People say it was a $ 10 billion giveaway. I did it right before the election, which helped him a lotâ¦ he would have lost the election without me. he strapped in. He went up a lot after I did it. He gained 10 or 15 points after I did the Golan Heights.
Trump’s statements in the interviews corroborate reports by American journalist Michael Wolff, who wrote in his account of Trump’s presidency that he viewed Netanyahu’s message to Biden as the “ultimate betrayal.”
Trump raged to assistants that Netanyahu praised Biden “before the ink was dry.” Wolff’s book, “Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Chairman,” was published in July.
Trump refused to admit defeat, making unsubstantiated allegations of serious fraud and promising to take his case to court, actions that ultimately encouraged his supporters to storm the United States Capitol in an attempt to attack. prevent certification of Biden’s electoral victory.
Trump’s apparent anger has come despite Netanyahu being one of the last great world leaders to congratulate Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Responding to the quotes, Netanyahu’s office said on Friday that it “really appreciates” Trump’s support for Israel, but “also really appreciates the importance of the strong alliance between Israel and the United States, and therefore it was important for him to congratulate the new President. “