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Trump: Netanyahu ‘never wanted peace’ with Palestinians

Former President Trump said in an interview published on Monday that he believes former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu never had any desire to establish peace with the Palestinians during his 12-year term in power.

“I don’t think Bibi ever wanted to make peace,” Trump told Axios’s Barak Ravid, using Netanyahu’s nickname. “I think he just tapped us along. Just tap, tap, tap, you know?”

“My whole life is deals. I’m like one big deal. That’s all I do, so I understand it,” said Trump. “And after meeting with Bibi for three minutes … I stopped Bibi in the middle of a sentence. I said, ‘Bibi, you don’t want to make a deal. Do you?’ And he said, ‘Well, uh, uh uh’ — and the fact is, I don’t think Bibi ever wanted to make a deal.”

According to Ravid, Trump realized early on in his presidency that Netanyahu posed a larger obstacle to establishing peace than Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

“I thought he was terrific,” Trump said of Abbas. “He was almost like a father. Couldn’t have been nicer. I thought he wanted to make a deal more than Netanyahu.”

Despite this, Trump accused Abbas of presenting a cordial tone in person but espousing a more critical, “warlike” tone when speaking in public.

As Ravid noted, Trump apparently reached the same conclusion that two of his predecessors — former Presidents Clinton and Obama — had reached when they worked with Netanyahu on reaching a two-state solution. In a 2014 interview, Clinton agreed that Netanyahu was probably “not the guy” who would make peace with Palestine.

Netanyahu and Obama’s relationship was known to be rather strained due to their stark ideological differences. Netanyahu was also strongly opposed to Obama’s work in establishing a nuclear agreement with Iran.

Ravid’s interview with Trump was for his new book, “Trump’s Peace: The Abraham Accords and the Reshaping of the Middle East.”

Last week, Ravid released another snippet from his interview with Trump in which the former president accused Netanyahu of disloyalty over his decision to congratulate President Biden for his victory in the presidential election.

“The first person that congratulated [Biden] was Bibi Netanyahu, the man that I did more for than any other person I dealt with. … Bibi could have stayed quiet. He has made a terrible mistake,” Trump said.

Netanyahu defended his actions in congratulating Biden, saying he appreciated the “strong alliance between Israel and the U.S. and therefore it was important for me to congratulate the incoming President.”

Tags Abraham Accords Benjamin Netanyahu Benjamin Netanyahu Bibi Netanyahu Donald Trump Donald Trump Israel Jared Kushner Joe Biden Palestine Two-state solution

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