By Mark Ellis
After presidential candidate Donald Trump took flak from other Republican contenders over his “neutral” stance in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said there is nothing he would rather do than bring peace to Israel, in remarks made during the February 25th debate in Houston.
“It’s probably the toughest negotiation of anywhere in the world, of any kind, OK? But, it doesn’t help if I start saying I’m very pro-Israel, very pro-Israel, more than anybody on this stage,” he said during the debate.
Immediately prior to the debate in Houston, the legendary deal-maker sat down with Boaz Bismuth, a journalist with Israel Hayom, to clarify his views about Israel.
“I want to make one thing clear: I want to strike a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It is what I aspire to do,” he told Hayom. “Peace is possible, even if it is the most difficult agreement to achieve. As far as I understand, Israel is also interested in a peace deal.”
Trump maintains his friendship with Israel is stronger than any other candidate, which may or may not help his chances for a peace deal. “I’m not saying I’ll succeed, or even that an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is within reach, but I want to try. But in order for an agreement to happen, the Palestinians need to show interest. It’s a little difficult to reach an agreement when the other side doesn’t really want to talk to you,” he stated to Hayom.
Trump told Hayom his daughter Ivanka is married to a Jewish man, Jared Kushner, who is an enthusiastic Israel supporter. Prior to her marriage to the real estate developer in 2009, Ivanka had an Orthodox conversion to Judaism after studying with Rabbi Elie Weinstock from the Modern Orthodox Ramaz School.
Ivanka keeps a kosher diet and observes the Jewish Sabbath. The couple married in a Jewish ceremony on October 25, 2009.
In the interview with Hayom, Trump once again attacked the Iran nuclear deal. “This deal was the worst deal that Israel could have gotten. Think about it: Beyond the deal itself, Iran also received $150 billion. And to think that they signed that deal without discussing it with Israel! As far as I’m concerned, this deal is the worst thing that ever happened to Israel,” he said.
“There is a clause in it that stipulates protecting Iran’s nuclear facilities should they come under attack. You have to read it to believe it. It may very well be the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. I don’t understand what it means, that America will attack Israel if Israel attacks Iran? That’s ridiculous.”
Trump said he likes the idea of relocating the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.