WASHINGTON (JTA) – President Donald Trump is “putting a lot of pressure” on Israel and the Palestinians to restart peace talks, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.
“The president was very forceful in his encouragement to both of them to be serious about approaching these discussions in the future and recognize you have to compromise,” Tillerson said in Rome, where he was accompanying Trump on his first overseas trip as president. Trump had just visited Israel and the Palestinian areas.
“Everyone has to compromise,” Tillerson said. “So he was putting a lot of pressure on them that it was time to get to the table,” noting Trump has “made the point several times.”
Trump earned a warm welcome from the Israelis and the Palestinians, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear during the trip that he preferred Trump to his predecessor, Barack Obama, whom he believed pressured Israel too much.
Tillerson also said, “We solve the Israeli-Palestinian peace dilemma, we start solving a lot of the peace throughout the Middle East region,” a linkage that Netanyahu, who has said peace with other states is achievable before Israeli-Palestinian issues are resolved, has in the past forcefully rejected.