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Last Update: 1 Minute ago
News code: 24697
Published Date: Tuesday 13 February 2018 - 11:59:15

Even Trump thinks Israeli settlements are a bad idea

Even Trump thinks Israeli settlements are a bad idea
World  - Donald Trump warned Sunday that Israeli settlement-building was jeopardizing peace efforts, according to an interview published in newspaper Israel Hayom.

In a rare public criticism of Israel, the president also questioned whether either side in the conflict really wanted to strike a peace deal, VICE news reported.

Trump has previously taken a far more pro-Israel position than his predecessor, most notably announcing in December his administration would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

He has also criticized the Palestinians for their perceived unwillingness to seek peace, and is withholding aid from the U.N's Palestinian refugee agency until their leaders enter talks.

But in an interview with national Hebrew language daily newspaper, Trump gave a more even-handed assessment of the obstacles to peace.

"Right now, I would say the Palestinians are not looking to make peace," Trump told the newspaper. "And I am not necessarily sure that Israel is looking to make peace. So we are just going to have to see what happens."

Trump also warned against building settlements in the occupied West Bank, considered illegal under international law.

"The settlements are something that very much complicates and always have complicated making peace, so I think Israel has to be very careful with the settlements," he said.

Israel started building its first new settlement in nearly 20 years last June, despite requests from Trump to back off.

"Dealmaker" Trump has previously pledged to apply his talents to the Middle East peace process, a promise that looks increasingly far-fetched following his Jerusalem announcement.

Top Palestinian officials said the decision had disqualified the U.S. from playing any role as mediator in the dispute, and that they would take no part in U.S.-sponsored talks until the decision on the capital was reversed.

Trump acknowledged in the interview that the prospect of peace talks now seemed far-fetched, but stressed there was no chance he would revisit the Jerusalem issue.

"I don't know frankly if we are going to even have talks. 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," he said. "It's our only opportunity and it will never happen after this."


News Code: 24697
Published Date: Tuesday 13 February 2018 - 11:59:15
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