Jared Kushner, son-in-law and senior adviser to former US President Donald Trump, reveals in an upcoming book that when Trump decided to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy there in 2017, then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reaction was decidedly lukewarm. , according to The front.
Citing excerpts from the book posted online by a Saudi official, the outlet reported that, according to Kushner, Netanyahu’s cool response nearly sabotaged the plan.
Kushner’s book, “Breaking History: A White House Memoir,” will be published on August 23.
The book reportedly says that in a phone call before the official announcement, Trump informed Netanyahu of the move, but the former prime minister simply replied, “If you choose to do that, I will support you.” Kushner wrote that a confused Trump, expecting an exuberant reaction, repeated himself, to which Netanyahu again “responded with less than expected enthusiasm.”
“Trump began to question his decision… [he] wondered out loud why he was taking this risk if the Israeli prime minister didn’t think it was that important,” Kushner wrote, claiming that Trump later told the former prime minister, “Bibi, I think the problem is you.”
Netanyahu “coldly countered” by explaining that he was part of the solution. However, Kushner wrote that he could see that Trump was visibly “frustrated.”
Kushner apparently did not say why he thought Netanyahu responded the way he did.
A statement from Netanyahu’s office said that “Contrary to claims, Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has asked President Trump to move the embassy multiple times, expressed his great appreciation for this decision.
“President Trump told Prime Minister Netanyahu before making the decision: ‘Some of my people say that this step will be dangerous for the United States. What do you think?’ Netanyahu replied that he did not see any real danger and that there was no reason not to move the embassy.
“It is doubtful that the embassy would have moved if Netanyahu had told the president otherwise.”
Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel since its founding in 1948, although much of the international community does not recognize it, since under the initial UN Partition Plan, Jerusalem was to be an international city.
Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, when he announced plans to move the embassy there. In May 2018, his administration opened the new facility, a move that generated intense controversy, both in Washington and in the Middle East.
Following the move, the Palestinians, who claim East Jerusalem is the capital of a future state, cut ties with Washington and called the Trump administration biased toward Israel.
At the time, Trump said the decision was made to advance American interests and peace in the region, and out of respect for Israel’s sovereignty.
Kushner’s book also revealed that Trump was upset about a prolonged three-hour meal he attended with Netanyahu during his 2017 visit.
“It was beautiful, but every time I thought the meal would end, another plate would come out,” Trump apparently told Kushner, complaining that the then-prime minister “was talking to me.”
Netanyahu and Trump maintained a good relationship during his time in office, until Trump felt betrayed by Netanyahu when he congratulated incumbent US President Joe Biden on his 2020 election victory.
Kushner is married to Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka, and served as a White House adviser. He played a significant role in the previous administration’s Middle East policy, participating in a diplomatic push that resulted in the Abraham Accords, a peace deal that resulted in Israel establishing diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.
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