Former US President, Donald Trump said in an interview published Monday that he does not believe former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu was ever serious about signing a peace deal with Palestinians.
“I don’t think Bibi ever wanted to make peace,” Trump said to Axios news journalist Barak Ravid.
“I think he just tapped us along. Just tap, tap, tap, you know?”. He was referring to Netanyahu using his nickname.
Trump’s criticism comes after he blasted Netanyahu last week, saying Netanyahu was disloyal because he dared to congratulate US President Joe Biden on his election win in November of last year despite the many good things his administration did for Israel..
During Trump’s time, US acknowledged Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital, signed peace deals between Israel and Arab states, UAE, Bahrain and Jordan and stopped the Iran nuclear deal orchestrated in 2015 by the Obama administration.
On Monday, December 13, Trump, the self-styled ‘king of the deal’, said he read Netanyahu’s no-peace mindset like a book.
“My whole life is deals. I’m like one big deal,” Trump told Ravid, who did the interview for a book on Trump and the Middle East. “That’s all I do, so I understand it.” He sai
“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.”
Ravid also said Trump told him Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was not the roadblock to peace and he had high praise for the 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.”
He then criticized Abbas, saying he talked out of both sides of his mouth, speaking in a “warlike” manner in public but in friendly tones in face-to-face meetings.
Trump is not the first US president to identify Netanyahu as an obstacle on the road to peace with Palestine.
Former US president, Bill Clinton said in a 2014 interview that Bibi was unlikely to be “the guy” to enter into a peace deal, while Barack Obama had strained relations with the former Israeli leader.