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In Interview, Trump Casts Doubt on Palestinians' Desire to Make Peace

12 February 2018

US President Donald Trump has said Israeli settlements "complicate" the peace process with Palestinians and urged "care" over the issue.

"Right now, I would say the Palestinians are not looking to make peace, they are not looking to make peace".

The Palestinian envoy to Moscow, Abd al Hafiz Nofal, said on February 11 that the Palestinians were not looking to exclude the United States from the peace process, "only asking that other parties join" as well. "So we are just going to have to see what happens", he said.

After that, according to Shaath, a new worldwide conference modeled on the Madrid Conference of 1991 could be convened, prompting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process with smaller memberships, as it happened during the negotiations between six world powers and Iran on the latter's nuclear program.

The remarks are consistent with the way Trump talked about settlements in a similar interview with Bismuth a year ago. While asked about his comments at the World Economic Forum in Davos that "Jerusalem is off the table" in terms of negotiations, he said, "I wanted to make it clear that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel".

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Trump threatened to cut additional aid to Palestinians last month after the USA announced it was withholding $65 million in aid to the United Nations agency that serves Palestinian refugees.

In excerpts of the interview published Friday, Trump touted his controversial December 6 declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as the "highest point" yet reached in his presidency.

The Palestinian leadership in the West Bank, however, see East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Another top official in Ramallah said that Abbas will renew his call for an internationally-backed panel to broker any talks with Israel as a substitute for a US-sponsored process during his upcoming speech before the United Nations body.

It's a sentiment Conservative foreign affairs critic Erin O'Toole says he agrees with, also suggesting Canada increase its consular presence in the area.

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The Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, has said that he will no longer accept the U.S. as a mediator following the move.

More than 600,000 Jews live in around 140 settlements which are considered illegal under global law and were built since Israel's occupation in 1967 of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Israel and the United States have long opposed an worldwide effort involving the United Nations in peace negotiations, expressing concerns it would be biased against Israel. This includes declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel alone, which Trump has done, halting the UNRWA activity, and the Israeli government declaring a number of settlements annexed to Israel. Nothing less. I think it is catastrophic for Israel, in how it was done, how it was allowed to be done, how it was signed, how it was agreed to, it is rather incredible to me.

President Abbas received Modi who said that India hopes for Palestine to soon become a sovereign and independent country in a peaceful environment.

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In Interview, Trump Casts Doubt on Palestinians' Desire to Make Peace