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An Israeli source who asked not to be named said that in a phone call to the prime minister last week, Dershowitz delivered Trump’s message that he is eager for a peace agreement and believes such a deal is possible today.
Dershowitz met the president by chance on March 18 while dining at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in southern Florida. The lawyer was there with Christopher Ruddy, the CEO of the conservative website Newsmax and a personal friend of Trump’s. While they were eating, Trump came to their table and chatted with them briefly. Later that evening, Trump spoke with Dershowitz for over 20 minutes.
In a conversation with Haaretz, Dershowitz said the peace process was among the topics they discussed. He said Trump mentioned that he was aware of the long-standing friendship between Dershowitz and the prime minister, and noted that Netanyahu values Dershowitz’s opinion.
“The president told me he loves Israel and likes Netanyahu and said a few times he wants to get a deal between Israel and the Palestinians,” Dershowitz added.
Dershowitz said Trump displayed detailed knowledge about core negotiating issues like borders, security, Jerusalem and the refugees, as well as about construction in the settlements.
“He knows very well the possible elements of the deal,” Dershowitz continued. “The president told me he thinks Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wants to get a deal with Israel and that he [Trump] thinks that the time is ripe for a deal and that it is possible.”
Dershowitz refused to confirm that he had called Netanyahu and delivered a message from Trump. But he also didn’t deny it, saying merely that all his conversations with Netanyahu are private and he doesn’t discuss them with the media.
The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment for this report.
Trump’s envoy to the peace process, Jason Greenblatt, delivered a similar message in conversations Monday night on the sidelines of the Arab League summit in Amman. His attendance at the summit was very unusual and it further demonstrates the weight that Trump assigns to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
In Amman, Greenblatt met with Abbas, in what was their second meeting since Greenblatt took office two months ago. Abbas is expected to meet with Trump in the White House for the first time in two weeks’ time.
Greenblatt also met in Amman with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, where they discussed the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi is scheduled to meet with Trump next week for the first time. A major topic on the agenda is expected to be a proposed regional peace initiative, in which Egypt would play a key role.
The president’s envoy to the peace process also met with Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit and with the foreign ministers of Algeria, Jordan, Qatar, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. The Israeli-Palestinian issue was addressed in all of these meetings. In addition, Greenblatt met with Federica Mogherini, the European Commission’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy.
After meeting with Mogherini, Greenblatt posted to his Twitter account a photograph of the two of them and wrote: “Productive mtg w/ @FedericaMog of @eu_eeas on how EU & US can advance Israel/Pal peace. It’s a priority for both of us.”
In the background of all of these conversations was the ongoing negotiations between Jerusalem and Washington over a formula for reining in settlement construction. A senior Israeli official, who was speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that no agreement had been reached and that talks were continuing.