President Donald Trump claimed Tuesday that he did not pick up the phone when he was called by world leaders seeking to sway him against unilaterally declaring Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital, Anadolu reports.
Trump said he was “inundated” by calls from foreign leaders “imploring me, even demanding” that he change course.
“I was getting calls from kings and presidents and dictators. I was getting a call from everyone,” Trump told supporters at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri.
“And when I knew what it was about, I’d say, ‘Tell them I’ll call them next week.’ Then I called them and I said, ‘Oh, I didn’t know you felt that way. Well, it’s too late.’”
Trump’s December recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was a move widely seen as undercutting longstanding arrangements underpinning the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.
The contested city’s status was widely regarded as a final status issue in those talks, and Trump’s announcement sent the Palestinian leadership into a seething uproar. They continue to reject a US role in mediating talks over the announcement and have refused to return to negotiations.
Trump said he is “very proud” of his decision, lauding the support it has generated from the evangelical conservatives.
Palestinians are seeking East Jerusalem — occupied by Israel since 1967 — as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.
Earlier this year, the US suspended over half of its funding for the UN’s Palestine refugee agency, withholding $65 million of its $125 million in annual funds after Palestinians rejected a US role in any peace talks.
UNRWA is facing a funding shortage that threatens to halt school openings in September following the US’s decision to partly halt its funding.
Source: Middle East Monitor