U.S. President Donald Trump (R) embraces Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after his remarks at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem May 23, 2017.
(photo credit: JONATHAN ERNST / REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump and his peace team say they are prepared to apply pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in their effort to jump-start peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Senior administration officials have said the president’s Middle East peace plan includes several significant provisions that will pose political challenges to the Israeli premier. And now Channel 10 is reporting that Trump has told France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, that he is prepared to get “tough” with Netanyahu if necessary.
“I gave Bibi a lot – I transferred the embassy to Jerusalem,” the channel quoted Trump as telling Macron. The president also reportedly noted annual US aid to the Israelis.
“You know, Emmanuel, I can be tough with Bibi,” Trump added.
A White House official would neither confirm nor deny the report, simply telling The Jerusalem Post:
"The president believes that the prime minister is committed to pursuing a comprehensive and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians."
On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month, Trump announced his preference for a two-state solution
to the conflict and his intention to reveal the US plan by the end of the year.
Since January, Trump has said twice that Israel "would have to pay more" in an agreement with the Palestinians since he relocated the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem– a move he says takes the issue of Jerusalem "off the table" in future talks. He has yet to specify any concessions he expects of the Israelis in a peace agreement.
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