Trump on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: 'Let Me Sort of Be Neutral'

Republican presidential candidate prepared to take 'one hell of a shot' at solving conflict, but says 'it's probably the toughest agreement of any kind to make.'

JTA
JTA
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally  at the Sumter Civic Center in Sumter, South Carolina, February 17, 2016.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Sumter Civic Center in Sumter, South Carolina, February 17, 2016. Credit: Reuters
JTA
JTA

Donald Trump said he would remain neutral when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians, but cited Palestinian incitement as a factor in making the conflict intractable.

Trump, a front-runner in the race for the Republican presidential nod, appeared at a town hall meeting in Charleston, South Carolina hosted by MSNBC ahead of Saturday’s Republican primary in the state.

He was asked whether he would tackle Israeli-Palestinian peace.

He said he would give it “one hell of a shot” although “it’s probably the toughest agreement of any kind to make.”

Trump said a reason for the conflict’s intractability was the mutual hatred, although he appeared to say this was a bigger problem on the Palestinian side.

“You know, you have both sides, really, but one side in particular growing up learning that these are the worst people these people are the worst people, etc. etc.,” he said. “I was with a very prominent Israeli the other day, he says it’s impossible because the other side has been trained from the time they’re children to hate Jewish people.”

Moderator Joe Scarborough pressed Trump to name who he believed was at fault, but the real estate magnate and reality TV star declined.

“If I win, I don’t want to be in a position where I’m saying to you, and the other side now says, ‘We don’t want Trump involved, we don’t want,’ let me sort of be a neutral guy,” Trump said. “I don’t want to say whose fault is it, I don’t think it helps.”

CNN simultaneously hosted town halls in the state with Trump’s rivals, brain surgeon Ben Carson, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. It will host Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Thursday night.

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