Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's Capital Was High Point of My Term in Office, Trump Tells pro-Netanyahu Paper

In an interview to Israel Hayom, which is owned by Sheldon Adelson and is considered supportive of Netanyahu, Trump said both Israel and the Palestinians would need to compromise for peace

U.S. President Donald Trump reacts to comments during a meeting with members of Congress and U.S. law enforcement about crime and immigration issues, specifically the MS-13 gang, at the White House in Washington, U.S. February 6, 2018.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
\ JONATHAN ERNST/ REUTERS

In an interview for an Israeli newspaper, President Donald Trump said that his Dec. 6 declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was the high point of his time in office.

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In the Hebrew-language translation of an excerpt from Trump’s interview with Israel Hayom editor-in-chief Boaz Bismuth, Trump said that both Israel and the Palestinians would need to compromise significantly to achieve peace. Trump said this in replying to Bismuth’s question on whether Israel would have to give something in return for the declaration.

Trump abruptly reversed decades of U.S. policy in December when he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, generating outrage from Palestinians and the Arab world and concern among Washington’s Western allies.

Palestinians hang an effigy of the U.S. President Donald Trump during a protest in Aida refugee camp in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018.(AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)
Nasser Shiyoukhi/AP

Calling the city “your wonderful capital,” he added that the recognition of it as Israel’s capital was very important for many people whom Trump said thanked him. Others did not thank him for it, he added, but he described the move as an important promise he made and kept.

Trump also said he understands why previous presidents who said they would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital ended up not doing it. He cited “enormous pressure” through intensive lobbying by those opposed to the move.

Bismuth asked Trump what he meant when he said last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that with the declaration “we took Jerusalem off the table.”

Trump said that he meant to say that the declaration clarified that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, but when it comes to specific borders he would support the ones agreed upon by both parties.

The full interview is scheduled to be published Sunday.

Israel Hayom is owned by Sheldon Adelson and is considered close and supportive of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump has given similar "exclusive" interview to the paper in the past, both as president and during his time as president-elect.