Netanyahu expressed skepticism to Macron on Trump’s Middle East peace efforts: report

Netanyahu expressed skepticism to Macron on Trump’s Middle East peace efforts: report
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An Israeli news site is reporting that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed skepticism of President Trump's Middle East peace plan during a meeting Sunday in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron.

According to Haaretz, which quoted diplomatic sources, Netanyahu told Macron that it would be complicated to move forward with Trump's plan. 

“It will be complicated to move quickly with the American plan,” the sources quoted Netanyahu as saying.

Trump has proposed developing a broad coalition of Middle Eastern nations, including Israel, to push back on Iran's influence, while working to develop a plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians concurrently.

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The idea is that by getting Israel to work with Saudi Arabia and other opponents of Iran, it might help forge a peace process with the Palestinians.

“I don’t know if Abbas can supply the goods because of his internal politics," Netanyahu reportedly said, referring to the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

"But we will cooperate with Trump’s move. I want to see a parallel process with the Arab states alongside the process with the Palestinians. Not one at the expense of the other, or one before the other, but in tandem.”

Macron criticized Israeli settlements after Netanyahu told him that the "Palestinian issue is complicated,” according to Haaretz.

In response, Macron said: “The problem is that you’re making it more complicated by building more and more in the settlements.”

Macron on Sunday reiterated his call for fresh Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to establish two independent states.

“I also call on the reopening of negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians as part of the search for a two state solution. Israel and Palestine living side by side, and recognize with secure borders Jerusalem as the capital,” the French leader said.

Macron has in the past criticized Israeli settlement construction, saying it is a threat to peace between the two groups.

Trump has attempted to foster peace in the region, making trips to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the early months of his presidency.

Trump earlier this month said "the only thing more difficult than peace between Israel and the Palestinians is healthcare." 

A White House official earlier this month said Trump is looking for "next steps" on the Israeli-Palestine peace talks.

"President Trump has made it clear that working towards achieving a lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians is a top priority for him," a White House official said.