(January 25, 2018 / JNS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday met with President Donald Trump at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where the two leaders discussed the peace process, Iran and U.S. support for Israel in international bodies.
During his fourth meeting with Trump during the past year, Netanyahu thanked the American leader for his Jerusalem policy changes, which he said would be “forever etched in the hearts of our people for generations to come.” He also thanked Trump for his “rock solid” support at the United Nations, and told him that Israel “completely” supports his “stalwart position on the Iran nuclear deal.”
Trump said that if the Palestinians do not show they want peace, then the U.S. will “not have anything to do with them any longer.”
“I can tell you, Israel does want to make peace, and they [the Palestinians] are going to have to want to make peace too, or we aren’t going to have anything to do with them any longer,” Trump said while sitting next to Netanyahu. “This was not brought up by other negotiators, but it is brought up by me.”
Trump also said that the Palestinians “disrespected us” by refusing to meet with Vice President Mike Pence during his visit to the region earlier this week, noting that “we give them hundreds of millions of dollars in aid support.” That funding, Trump added, will no longer go to the Palestinians “unless they sit down and negotiate peace.”
“Respect has to be shown to the U.S., or we just are not going any further,” he said.
Trump reaffirmed his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying it helped take that thorny issue off the table.
“There were never any deals that came close because you could never get past Jerusalem,” he said.
The U.S. has a peace proposal that is “great” for the Palestinians and “very good” for Israel, but is not sure if negotiations will ever begin because the Palestinians have not shown “respect” for the process,” said the president.
“We give them hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Why should we do that as a country if they are doing nothing for us?” Trump said.
In response, Palestinian Authority (PA) spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeinah said that “if the issue of Jerusalem remains off the table, America will remain away from the table.”
Similarly, PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, who received a lung transplant in the U.S. late last year, said that this is “not a game for the people of Palestine.”
“The U.S. Administration insists to continue promoting international anarchy and rewarding violations of international law, we will continue to use all available political, diplomatic and legal venues in order to achieve the long overdue rights of the Palestinian people, most importantly our right to self-determination,” said Erekat.