Trump asked Netanyahu whether he “really cares about peace”

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By Middle East Affairs

According to a report from Axios, U.S. President Donald Trump once asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whether he “really cares about peace.”

The report, published Sunday, said Trump posed the question via phone call but didn’t say when. It did say, however, that the question was prompted by reports of Netanyahu’s plans to add on to settlements.

“Trump thought Bibi (Netanyahu) was unnecessarily angering the Palestinians,” the report stated, “so, in the course of a longer conversation that was mostly friendly and complimentary, he bluntly asked Bibi whether or not he genuinely wants peace.”

In response, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump has “great relationships with a number of foreign leaders, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be aggressive when it comes to negotiating what’s best for America.”

Trump has said one of his major goals in office is to present a peace plan for Israel and Palestine. His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been charge of the plan, which has yet to be revealed. Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump – the president’s daughter – are expected to represent the United States at its embassy opening in Jerusalem in May.

Trump and Netanyahu have referred to each other as “dear friends,” but on one occasion the White House released a statement denying that Netanyahu was discussing settlements annexation with Trump. Otherwise, the U.S. administration under Trump’s policy has publicly backed Israel.

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