In an interview published on Monday, former President Trump said that he believes former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu never really wanted peaceful relations with the Palestinians during his 12 years as prime minister.
Trump also had kind words for Palestinian leader Abbas.
The perhaps surprising remarks came during an interview with Axios reporter Barak Ravid for his book, “Trump’s Peace.”
— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) December 13, 2021
Trump: ‘I don’t think Bibi ever wanted to make peace’
Trump told Ravid, “I don’t think Bibi ever wanted to make peace.”
“Bibi” is a common nickname for Netanyahu.
“I think he just tapped us along. Just tap, tap, tap, you know?” Trump added.
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“My whole life is deals,” Trump continued. “I’m like one big deal. That’s all I do, so I understand it.”
Trump then explained the moment when he realized Netanyahu didn’t actually want any peace deal with the Palestinians.
Trump said, “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.”
According to Ravid, Trump believed that Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was more eager to make a deal happen than Netanyahu.
“I thought he was terrific,” Trump said of Abbas. “He was almost like a father. Couldn’t have been nicer.”
“I thought he wanted to make a deal more than Netanyahu,” Trump insisted.
Trump said early on in his presidency that he realized Netanyahu would be a bigger obstacle to peace than Abbas.
— Scott Horton (@scotthortonshow) December 13, 2021
Presidents Clinton And Obama Reached The Same Conclusion As Trump
Trump also said Abbas was more cordial in person-to-person talks, though he struck but a more critical, “warlike” tone when speaking in public.
Trump’s perception of Netanyahu regarding the Palestinians is not without precedent.
Axios reported, “Like the two predecessors who worked on this issue with Netanyahu — Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — Trump reached the conclusion that Netanyahu never sincerely wanted to negotiate a two-state solution.”
The interview with the former Republican president was part of Ravid’s work for his new book, “Trump’s Peace: The Abraham Accords and the Reshaping of the Middle East.”
During his time in office, the deal-maker Trump was able to secure unprecedented peace deals between Israel and several Arab nations. The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan have all recognized Israel’s right to exist and moved towards normalized relations.
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