In a phone call last year, US President Donald Trump bluntly asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if he genuinely cares about peace or not, according to the Axios news website, which cited three sources familiar with the conversation.
Officials stated that Trump’s harsh rhetoric was provoked by a news reports he read about Netanyahu planning then to build additional settlements in the West Bank, namely in Judea and Samaria.
Trump believed, according to the sources, that by doing so the Israeli prime minister was unnecessarily infuriating Palestinians amid the ongoing conflict, the news outlet reported. When it addressed the White House for a comment, a senior official responded that Trump has "an extremely close and candid relationship with the prime minister of Israel and appreciates his strong efforts to enhance the cause of peace in the famous of numerous challenges."
Commenting on Trump’s blunt choice of words, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders stated that the fact that the president has “great relationships with a number of foreign leaders” does not mean he "can't be aggressive" when seeking "what’s best for America."
In recent months, the Trump administration has been preparing a peace proposal for Israel and Palestine, with a high-profile White House official stating lately that the administration has nearly completed its Israeli-Palestine peace resolution. It is still reportedly deciding when and how to unveil it, as ties between the US and Palestine have significantly soured following Trump’s announcement of the US embassy transfer to Jerusalem last December.
Palestinian officials have repeatedly turned down the Trump administration’s peace proposal, claiming it was coordinated with Israel, with PA head Mahmoud Abbas refusing to view the Trump administration as an unbiased peace broker.