US President Donald Trump said on Saturday that if the Israelis and the Palestinians do not agree on a peace deal during his time in office, it will never happen.
Trump told reporters at the end of the G20 summit in Japan that there is a chance to reach a peace deal. "I know [the Palestinians] want to make a deal," he said, "but they want to be a little bit cute — and that is okay. I fully understand where they are coming from."
The President said that he cut US aid to the Palestinians a year ago because he heard that they were saying "nasty" things. "So I said, 'Wait a minute, we're trying to make a deal, we're trying to help them and they're saying these nasty things, we're not going to pay'." If the Palestinians were not taking part in negotiations, he added, and didn't want to help to make peace, then America was not going to pay them.
He made his remarks a couple days after holding an economic workshop in Bahrain for attracting investment in Palestine which was not attended by any Israeli or Palestinian officials. On Friday, the Bahrain conference was dismissed as "big-dream plans divorced from reality" in a New York Times editorial.
"Israel controls the economic life of the Palestinian territories, meaning none of the proposals are possible without its concurrence," wrote the NYT. "Yet the plan makes no demands on Israel and its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Gulf states, along with European nations and private investors, are expected to help finance the plan, but there have been no actual commitments, and the idea that the Arabs would bankroll a peace plan that sidesteps a Palestinian state is unlikely."