Ron Lauder Tells Israeli Officials: Trump 'Very Determined' to Reach Peace Deal

Lauder, who has reportedly been advising Trump on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, also said Trump believes he can convince Abbas to accept a deal

U.S President-elect Donald Trump stands next to Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress,  after a meeting at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, December 28, 2016.

Ronald Lauder, who has reportedly been advising U.S. President Donald Trump on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, told a number of Israeli politicians this weekend that Trump was “very determined” to reach a comprehensive peace deal.

Speaking at the Jerusalem Post conference in New York, the Jewish American businessman also said Trump believes he can convince Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to accept a deal with the support of other Arab leaders in the region.

Lauder held separate meetings with a number of the Israeli officials and told them about his conversations with Trump on the peace process. Israeli officials in attendance included Education Minister Naftali Bennett, Justice Minsiter Ayelet Shaked and opposition leader Isaac Herzog.

“He didn’t go into a lot of detail, but made it clear that this really is a top priority for the president,” one of the politicians who spoke to Lauder told Haaretz, referring to the peace process. Lauder, however, also told the officials that he was not aware of Trump currently having a detailed peace plan and that “we should all wait until his visit to the region in two weeks, when things will become more clear.” 

Two people who spoke to Lauder said he described Trump as “very determined” to reach an agreement and added that Trump believes involvement by other Arab countries in the region could help the Palestinians agree to settle the conflict. Trump has met in recent weeks with Abbas, Jordanian King Abdullah and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi, and according to the White House, has discussed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process with all three.

Trump will arrive in Israel and the Palestinian Authority on May 22 after visiting Saudi Arabia, making the kingdom the first foreign country he will visit as president. A senior White House official said last week that during his visit to the oil-rich nation, Trump will meet with leaders from across the Arab world to discuss the common fight against terrorism and extremism.