Trump sets sights on ‘ultimate deal’ between Israel, Palestinians

US president-elect Donald Trump said he hopes to orchestrate “the ultimate deal” between Israel and the Palestinians that would resolve “the war that never ends.”

Days after winning the US presidential election, the Republican victor said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that “As a deal maker, I’d like to do… the deal that can’t be made. And do it for humanity’s sake.”

On Syria, Trump said he aims to shift away from the Obama administration’s policy of backing opposition fighters and calling for the ouster of President Bashar Assad, and instead focus on combatting the Islamic State

Trump’s Friday comments on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict came quick on the heels of a message published in Israel Hayom in which the president-elect hailed the Jewish state as a “beacon of hope to countless people.”

“Israel and America share so many of the same values, such as freedom of speech, freedom of worship and the importance of creating opportunities for all citizens to pursue their dreams,” Trump said in the message published by the Israel Hayom newspaper.

“Israel is the one true democracy and defender of human rights in the Middle East and a beacon of hope to countless people.”

He added that he hoped his administration would play a “significant role in helping the parties to achieve a just, lasting peace,” saying that any deal would have to be directly negotiated between the two sides.

France is currently pushing for an international conference to discuss peace in the Middle East, but Israel says any talks should be bilateral ones between the two sides.

The Palestinians have called for international involvement, accusing Israel of reneging on past agreements.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was among the first leaders Trump spoke to after his election victory.

Israeli right-wingers have hailed Trump’s win as an opportunity to consolidate control over the West Bank.

Meir Turgeman, chairman of the Jerusalem municipality planning committee, told Israel Radio that it provided a green light to revive suspended permits for Israeli construction in East Jerusalem.

He said the municipality intended to authorize thousands of housing units that had been frozen.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the Jewish Home party, said on Wednesday that the US election result meant the idea of a Palestinian state was over.

( Source )