Mahmoud Abbas

Scoop: Trump told Macron he's ready to pressure Netanyahu to back peace plan

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

President Trump told French President Emmanuel Macron last month that he's ready to put pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept his upcoming Middle East peace plan, four Western diplomats briefed on the meeting tell me. Trump specifically mentioned the fact the U.S. gives Israel billions of dollars in aid every year.

Why it matters: We haven’t previously heard Trump say anything about his willingness to put pressure on Netanyahu, perhaps his staunchest ally around the world. Three days after the meeting with Macron, which happened on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Trump met with Netanyahu in New York and announced for the first time his support for the two state solution. In the same meeting, Trump said he was planning to present his peace plan in two to four months.

Expert Voices

Trump's Israeli–Palestinian plan likely to heighten Mideast tensions

A Palestinian man riding a horse and waving a Palestinian flag during clashes between Palestinian protesters and the Israeli forces along the Israeli fence East of Gaza City.
A Palestinian man riding a horse and waving a Palestinian flag during a protest along the Israeli fence East of Gaza City. Photo: Nidal ALwaheidi/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

This year's UN General Assembly session promises to bring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict back to center stage. The Trump administration's recent decisions on Jerusalem and withdrawal of funding for the UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees, together with a possible announcement at the UN of its "deal of the century," indicate that it is attempting to remove key issues for the Palestinians from the negotiating table.

The big picture: The U.S.’ apparent strategy is to decide a priori the fate of Jerusalem and refugees in Israel's favor, and to force the Palestinians to accept an inferior deal. Whether the U.S. unveils the details of its plan during the UNGA session or not, it’s likely to exacerbate tensions in the region.

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