Just days after the hotly contested presidential election in the United States, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has already taken center stage for the upcoming American administration.
US president-elect Donald Trump said he hopes to orchestrate “the ultimate deal” between Israel and the Palestinians in what he called, the “war that never ends.”
“That’s the ultimate deal,” the Republican told The Wall Street Journal. “As a deal maker, I’d like to do… the deal that can’t be made. And do it for humanity’s sake.”
His comments came amid a wider, exclusive interview conducted by the Wall Street Journal with the president-elect on issues ranging from healthcare to job creation.
The reassurance from the incoming American president came some days after reports surfaced that President Barack Obama could make a last-ditch attempt to leave his mark on the situation. Some Israelis fear that before his term ends in two months, Obama seek a resolution that formally recognizes a Palestinian state at the UN Security Council.
“I can’t rule out that there may be a new initiative before the end of this administration,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters in Washington on Thursday.
An unnamed Trump national security adviser told the Politico that, “Obama and his aides shouldn’t go seeking new adventures or pushing through policies that clearly don’t match Trump’s positions.”
Meanwhile, Jason Greenblatt, a senior Trump adviser, told Israeli Army Radio last week that Trump understands Israel’s position and “won’t force a solution” on the Jewish state.
“Mr. Trump does not view the settlements as being an obstacle for peace,” Greenblatt said. “The two sides are going to have to decide how to deal with that region, but it’s certainly not Mr. Trump’s view that settlement activity should be condemned and that it is an obstacle to peace. It is not the obstacle to peace.”
The president-elect hailed the Jewish state as a “beacon of hope to countless people” in an interview with Israel Hayom, an Israeli newspaper owned by American-Israeli casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who supported the Republican nominee.
“I believe that my administration can play a significant role in helping the parties to achieve a just, lasting peace, which must be negotiated between the parties themselves, and not imposed on them by others. Israel and the Jewish people deserve no less,” the president-elect said.
Last night a phone conversation took place between Sarah Netanyahu, the prime minister’s wife, and Melania Trump.
“Mrs. Trump said that she looks forward to our visit at the first opportunity and that there will be wonderful relations between our countries and our families,” Benjamin Netanyahu said on Facebook.