Addressing crowds at a campaign rally in Charleston, West Virginia, President Trump received rapturous applause from his supporters as he reminded the audience of his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital and to move the US Embassy to the city in May this year.
While claiming that he had “taken Jerusalem off the table” despite being “inundated with calls” from foreign leaders urging him not to make his expected declaration, Trump made clear that the Israelis would be expected to make heavy compromises in future negotiations.
“And if there’s ever going to be peace—remember I said it—with the Palestinians it was a good thing to have done because we took it off the table because every time there were peace talks, they never got past Jerusalem becoming their capital, so I said let’s take it off the table,” Trump said, explaining his strategy.
“And you know what, in the negotiation, Israel will have to pay a higher price because they won a very big thing, but I took it off the table,” he continued.
Repeating several times that he had removed Jerusalem from becoming an obstacle to successful negotiations, Trump stated that the Palestinians would soon reap the benefits of the move.
“But they’ll get something very good because it’s their turn next. Let’s see what happens."
The president also criticized his predecessors for failing to deliver campaign promises to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the embassy to Jerusalem.
“And I understand now what happened. Because every president—many, many presidents—they said ‘we’re going to do it. We’re going to move our embassy to Jerusalem. It’s going to be the capital of Israel. We’re going to do it, we’re going to do it’ and then they don’t do it. Politicians, they don’t do it. So I said I’m going to do it,” the president said.
Trump further described the pressure that world leaders attempt to apply ahead of his declaration.
“And I now understand why many presidents before me said they were going to do it and didn’t do it. Because I was inundated with calls from foreign leaders. Every country: ‘Don’t do it, don’t do it, don’t do it, please don’t do it, don’t do it!’
“So actually what I did, I was about five days off I stopped taking calls I said I’ll call you back next week. Because I knew what they were going to ask me.”