President Donald Trump, in an interview published today, said he believes both Israelis and Palestinians are playing roles in undermining the Middle East peace process. “Right now, I would say the Palestinians are not looking to make peace, they are not looking to make peace. 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 told Israel Hayom.
The President went to say that controversial Israeli settlements have played a role in hindering peace efforts as well. “We will be talking about settlements. 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.
The President cut aid to the Palestinian Authority last month after they withdrew from peace negotiations with Israel, mediated by the U.S. Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas refused to meet with Vice President Mike Pence on a recent trip Pence made to the region, prompting Trump to reduce the amount of financial aid the U.S contributes to a United Nations agency that aids Palestinian refugees.
“That money is on the table and that money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace,” The President said last month during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
President Trump announced in December that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and initiated plans to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the city. The move drew harsh criticism from the Palestinian Authority and the international community.