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September 16, 2020 1:38 pm

Trump Buoyant on Future Israeli-Saudi Peace Deal in Call With US Jewish Leaders

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US President Donald Trump announces that Israel and the United Arab Emirates have reached a peace deal that will lead to the full normalization of diplomatic relations between the two Middle Eastern nations, at the White House in Washington, DC, Aug. 13, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Kevin Lamarque.

President Donald Trump told US Jewish leaders on Wednesday that while he had not formally requested that Saudi Arabia sign a peace treaty with Israel “quite yet,” he was confident that such a deal between the two nations could be concluded quickly, following the historic normalization accords inked on Tuesday at the White House by the Jewish state with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

On a conference call with nearly 400 American Jewish officials on Wednesday to mark the upcoming Rosh Hashanah holiday, Trump was buoyant at the prospect of additional Arab and Muslim states recognizing Israel more than 70 years after its creation.

“I can tell you from personal knowledge, we are dealing with at least five countries,” Trump said.

“I haven’t asked the Saudis quite yet, but I will ask,” the president continued. “I’ve spoken to the king of Saudi Arabia and I think he’ll be there at the right time.”

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Trump hailed Tuesday’s White House signing ceremony as a “monumental breakthrough for Israel and the cause of peace.”

“Through the Abraham Accords, Israel and the Arab nations are normalizing their relationships and setting aside old and frankly, very vicious conflicts,” he added.

Trump emphasized his conviction that no previous US administration was as friendly to Israel as his.

“There’s never been a better time for Israel than now,” he said, listing accomplishments including the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, and “taking out the brutal terrorist [Qassem] Soleimani,” the former head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — Quds Force (IRGC-QF), who was killed in a US strike near Baghdad International Airport in January.

Trump frequently referred to November’s presidential election during the call, taking the opportunity to express his bemusement at the reluctance of American Jews to vote for him.

Noting that he had “gotten 25 percent of the Jewish vote” in the 2016 election, Trump remarked that he had a “Jewish daughter and son-in-law and beautiful Jewish grandchildren,” and that he had delivered on all his promises to Israel.

“I’m amazed that it seems to be almost automatically a Democrat vote,” Trump commented.

“Obama was the worst president Israel ever had, I remember [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu begging him to the point of humiliation, ‘Please don’t do the Iran deal,'” Trump said, before telling his listeners, “I hope you can explain to people what’s going on.”

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