Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 42° Cloudy
News >  World

Trump questions Israel’s interest in making peace

UPDATED: Sun., Feb. 11, 2018

Palestinians hang an effigy of U.S. President Donald Trump during a protest in the Aida refugee camp in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. (Nasser Shiyoukhi / Associated Press)
Palestinians hang an effigy of U.S. President Donald Trump during a protest in the Aida refugee camp in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. (Nasser Shiyoukhi / Associated Press)
Associated Press

JERUSALEM – President Donald Trump questioned Israel’s interest in making peace with the Palestinians in an interview published Sunday, spotlighting its West Bank settlements as a complicating factor.

In the interview in the Israel Hayom daily, Trump also cast doubt on the Palestinians’ desire to strike a deal.

But his comments about Israel mark rare criticism from a president who has publicly sparred with the Palestinians while forging warm ties with Israel ahead of the expected presentation of a U.S. peace outline.

“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 was quoted as saying. He did not disclose details about the anticipated peace plan.

Israel Hayom is owned by American billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a Trump backer and a supporter of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In the interview, Trump criticized Israel’s West Bank settlements, which the Palestinians and most of the international community view as illegal obstacles to peace.

The Trump White House has been less publicly critical of Israel’s settlement building than previous administrations.

“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.

Relations between the U.S. and the Palestinians have spiraled since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December.

Since then he has cut U.S. funding to a U.N. agency that assists Palestinian refugees and threatened to withhold aid money to the Palestinians unless they resume negotiations with Israel.

The Palestinians, who claim Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as their capital, saw Trump’s announcement as unfairly taking sides with Israel.

They say the U.S. is not an honest broker and have pre-emptively rejected any peace proposal presented by the Trump administration.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.