WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday night that Israel will pay a "higher price" in peace negotiations with the Palestinians after his decision to move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Trump, speaking at a political rally in West Virginia, said that the Palestinians will "get something very good" in return for the embassy move, "because it's their turn next." Trump didn't offer any details on what the Palestinians will "get" in return.
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said at a press conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday that the administration is continuing its work on Trump's plan for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, noting however that no timetable has be set for announcing it. Bolton said there has been "a lot of progress in the region."
Bolton said that Trump's comment, was "not an issue of quid pro quo," adding that he and anyone else would expect Palestinians to say "so we didn't get that one, now we want something else," adding that "ultimately this is something the parties are going to have to agree on."
The statements by Trump were made during the last minutes of the political rally, which mostly focused on other issues. The rally was held hours after both his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and personal attorney, Michael Cohen, were found guilty of serial financial crimes.
Toward the end of the rally, Trump began listing what he considers to be his foreign policy achievements.
When mentioning the embassy move, Trump said that since Jerusalem is now "off the table," Israel will have to give something in return to the Palestinians.
"If there's ever going to be peace with the Palestinians, then this was a good thing to have done," Trump said about the embassy move. "We took it off the table. In past negotiations, they never got past Jerusalem. Now Israel will have to pay a higher price, because it's off the table. The Palestinians will get something very good, cause it's their turn next."
Trump also said that he "now understands" why previous American presidents didn't follow through on their promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, saying he has received endless phone calls from world leaders urging him not to go through with his decision. "But I approved it, and it should have been done years ago," he said. Trump also repeated what he has said in the past, that the Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is "the toughest of them all."
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