TEL AVIV – President Donald Trump said Saturday there will never be a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if a peace accord doesn’t happen while he is president, and added that his long-anticipated proposal has a “very good chance” of success.
“With me being president, if you don’t get that deal done it’ll never happen,” Trump said at a press briefing at the end of the G20 summit in Japan days after the U.S.-led economic peace workshop in Bahrain.
Despite the Palestinian boycott of his administration, he believes the Palestinians want peace, he said.
“I know they want to make a deal, but they want to be a little bit cute — and that is okay. I fully understand where they are coming from,” he said, adding that it “may very well be the toughest deal of all.”
“A lot of people think it can’t be made,” he said.
Trump said his decision to slash U.S. aid for the Palestinians was because they said “nasty things” about him.
“I ended that money because a year ago I heard they were saying nasty things and I said, ‘Wait a minute, we’re trying to make a deal, we’re trying to help them and they’re saying these nasty things, we’re not gonna pay,’” he said.
“If you’re not negotiating and don’t want to help make peace, we’re not gonna pay you. So let’s see what happens,” he added.
He also addressed Israel’s decision to go to elections last month after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a government.
“The transaction was thrown up in the air a bit because of what happened with Bibi Netanyahu’s election. They thought he won and then all of a sudden he couldn’t put together the coalition and now they’re back to campaigning again,” he said.
“So that was something that came up. Who would’ve expected that?” Trump added. “Maybe something will happen faster, but that’ll be going on for about three months.”
Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner launched a $50 billion economic peace plan at the Bahrain summit last week. In his closing remarks, he told the absent Palestinians that the U.S. has “not given up on you” and the “deal of the century” should now be called the “opportunity of the century.”
Kushner also acknowledged that prosperity for Palestinians is not possible without a political solution to the conflict.
“Agreeing on an economic pathway forward is a necessary precondition to resolving the previously unsolvable political issues,” Kushner said.
“To be clear, economic growth and prosperity for the Palestinian people are not possible without an enduring and fair political solution to the conflict — one that guarantees Israel’s security and respects the dignity of the Palestinian people.”
However, he added that developing the Palestinian economy could result in “a real peace that leads to prosperity.”
“We see tremendous potential,” he concluded.