A White House official on Sunday has stressed that US president, Donald Trump, and Israeli prime minister, Benyamin Netanyahu have an “extremely close relationship” after reports that Trump had asked Netanyahu if he really cares about peace in a phone call last year.
According to three sources familiar with the call, Trump was pressing Bibi Netanyahu on the importance of striking a “deal” for Mideast peace.
When he read news reports about Bibi planning to build additional settlements to please his conservative base in Israel, Trump thought Bibi was unnecessarily angering the Palestinians, before he he asked Bibi whether or not he genuinely wants peace, Axios reported.
After Axios shared the details of this conversation with the White House before publishing, a senior official said: “The President has an extremely close and candid relationship with the Prime Minister of Israel and appreciates his strong efforts to enhance the cause of peace in the face of numerous challenges.”
And Press Secretary Sarah Sanders added: “The President has great relationships with a number of foreign leaders but that doesn’t mean he can’t be aggressive when it comes to negotiating what’s best for America.”