Trump questions Israel's interest in making peace with Palestine


Nofal said "President Abbas announced that for Palestinians, the United States in not welcome to play the role of broker because of its bias towards Israel".

At the end of the day, however, Trump acknowledged that there is still a real question about whether the Palestinian Authority will even come to the table - and if they do, another question about what kind of deal the Israelis will agree to.

"To the best of my knowledge, with the programmes and work we do together, Malaysia is not affected", Lakhdir told Sunday Star in an exclusive interview that was published today.

"Right now, I would say the Palestinians are not looking to make peace, they are not looking to make peace. Regarding Israel, I am not certain it, too, is interested in making peace so we will just need to wait and see what happens".

Asked whether the settlements will be part of the peace plan, Trump replied, "We will be talking about settlements".

Trump also said that Israeli settlement building in the West Bank complicates peacemaking efforts - a slight backtrack on his previous assertion that settlements do not pose an obstacle to reaching a deal.

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"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.

In one of the corruption cases threatening Netanyahu's political endurance, however, the Prime Minister was caught trying to negotiate better coverage from Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes in exchange for passing a law limiting Israel Hayom's circulation.

Excerpts of the interview were published Friday, in which Trump stated that his December 6 declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital was the high point of his time in office. "By taking Jerusalem off the table, I wanted to make it clear that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and as for specific boundaries, I would support what both sides agreed to", he said. "I think we are very good partners and friends, so we can have frank conversations when we disagree".

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said he will no longer accept the U.S. as a mediator following the controversial recognition of Jerusalem. Since then he has cut US funding to a United Nations agency that assists Palestinian refugees and threatened to withhold aid money to the Palestinians unless they resume negotiations with Israel.

Washington said it would hand over $60m (£43m) of a planned payment to the UN Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa), but would keep back $65m until it carries out "reforms".