12:11 GMT +320 November 2019
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    U.S. President Donald Trump and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands as they deliver remarks before a dinner at Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem May 22, 2017

    Netanyahu Says No ‘Blank Check’ from US, Tells Party Time for a Deal is Now

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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Monday that while the current US administration is friendly toward the Middle Eastern country, Jerusalem does not have a “blank check” from Washington to do as it pleases.

    During a weekly speech given by the Israeli prime minister to his right-wing Likud political party, Netanyahu suggested that in setting his sights on a new peace agreement between Jerusalem and Ramallah, US President Donald Trump expects Israel to be prepared to make as-yet-unnamed concessions.

    "We don't have a blank check on the political level," Netanyahu was reported by Channel 2 to have told Likud party members during the weekly closed-door gathering in the Knesset in Jerusalem.

    "This president is determined to get a deal," added the prime minister, the Times of Israel reported.

    Several local Israeli media outlets quoted the prime minister as saying, "We are a sovereign country, we can decide on many things and declare many things, but as far as the consent of the Americans goes I would not go that far."

    "It is true that there are warm relations and there is a lot of understanding for our basic positions, but it is not true that we have a blank check, and that is far from the reality," he added, according to the report.

    Trump's election, originally welcomed by right-wing hardliners in Israel, was projected to bring about additional settlement construction on seized Palestinian territories, as well as the seizure of more of that territory. Upon his election victory, long-frozen settlement plans were relaunched.

    Recent developments have significantly quashed that earlier pro-Trump political fervor, however, after the White House asked Jerusalem to limit new construction, and has begun pushing for new peace talks between the two sides.

    After spending 28 hours in Israel during his first foreign visit, Trump, who during that period also met with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, has called for renewed talks to reach a settlement between the two foes.

    Netanyahu, in his weekly remarks to his party, said, "We now need to act very wisely and with responsibility. Even more than that, we need to do so especially now," adding, "we need to reach [a peace agreement]. We are in that situation."

    But many experienced diplomats in Washington and around the world have displayed a marked skepticism for Trump's claim that he can achieve a peace accord.

    John Bolton, former US ambassador to the United Nations, has outright called the president's goal "undoable, according to The Hill.

    In remarks quoted by the Jerusalem Post on Sunday, the former top diplomat suggested that Trump, "is an optimistic man and can take a good shot at it, but I don't think the conditions exist."

    "I don't think the two-state solution is viable anymore," he stated. "It's not a question of personality or effort, it is just undoable."

    "There has been a 70-plus year [failed] effort for the two-state solution. You can't put it back together again," Bolton said.

    But the US leader remains undeterred, avowing that "with determination, compromise and the belief that peace is possible, Israelis and Palestinians can make a deal."

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    Tags:
    negotiating skills, diplomacy, peace talks, Likud party, Knesset, United Nations, John Bolton, Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestine, Israel, Washington DC, Gaza Strip, West Bank
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