Netanyahu Used Doctored Video of Abbas to Influence Trump's Policy, Woodward Reveals

According to excerpts from 'Rage' published by U.S. media, at a time when Trump was wondering if Israel was the obstacle to peace with the Palestinians, Netanyahu showed him a fake video to steer him away from pro-Palestinian sentiments

U.S. President Donald Trump, left, meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. May 23, 2017
U.S. President Donald Trump, left, meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. May 23, 2017Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented U.S. President Donald Trump with a doctored video which showed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas calling for the murder of children, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Bob Woodward in his new book "Rage".

The incident occurred on May 22, 2017, at a time when Trump was beginning to have doubts about Netanyahu and wondering aloud if the Israeli prime minister might be the real obstacle to peace with the Palestinians, Woodward wrote, according to excerpts from the book published by U.S. media.

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A day after watching the "spliced-together" video intended to "counter any pro-Palestinian sentiments that were surfacing," Trump confronted Abbas, calling him a "murderer" and "liar," and shortly after ordered the closure of the Palestinian representative office in Washington and cut nearly all U.S. aid to the West Bank, Gaza and Palestinian refugees.

On May 27, 2017, Haaretz covered reports of shouting during a meeting between Abbas and Trump, and was told by a top Palestinian figure that "there is a power struggle here for the president's ear and of course the Paletinians aren't in the best position."

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right and US President Donald Trump talk to the press before a meeting in Jerusalem, May 22, 2017. Credit: Menahem Kahana,AP

As described by the Jewish Insider, which obtained an advance copy of the book, Woodward portrays a strained relationship between Tillerson and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who was tasked with resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Tillerson believed Netanyahu's relationship with Kushner, whose family he had known for many years, was "nauseating to watch."

After Kushner had shown Tillerson several versions of the Middle East Peace Plan, Tillerson told Kushner that Palestinians "are not going to care about your money … That's not going to buy you peace.” Tillerson was sacked in March 2018 and was replaced by then CIA director Mike Pompeo.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner sit behind Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as U.S. President Donald Trump holds a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, October 16, 2017.Credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE / REUTERS

Bob Woodward’s latest book, “Rage” is an intimate and damning account of Trump, drawing from hundreds of hours of interviews, including 18 interviews with Trump lasting nine hours, as well as correspondence and confidential documents. The book, slated to be published on September 15, provides details of the U.S. president and some of his top aides, and concludes with Woodward’s assessment of Trump as "the wrong man for the job.”



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