After former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was accused by former US Middle East envoy Jared Kushner of apathy vis-à-vis President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, former Ambassador Ron Dermer, who acted as Israel’s Ambassador to Washington during Trump’s term, refuted Kushner’s claim that Bibi was unenthused about the US president’s historic declaration.
In an interview with Israel Hayom, Dermer responded to released excerpts from Kushner’s book, ‘Breaking History: A White House Memoir,’ saying that Netanyahu and his advisory staff requested recognition of Jerusalem before Trump was even inaugurated and many times following his inauguration. “When the prime minister came to Washington in February 2017, and when Trump came to Jerusalem in May of that year, he heard from Netanyahu about his support for the move. Trump and his team had heard from Netanyahu and me for a year, how much we wanted the recognition of Jerusalem. Netanyahu from the beginning to the end was in favor of this decision and I acted in Washington to promote it.”
Dermer asserts that Trump warned Netanyahu about the US intelligence community’s concern of violence and even a possible war igniting following the historic embassy move. Netanyahu balked at the report replying that “our intelligence does not show that there will be an explosion. But even if there was such intelligence they would support the decision because it is so important to us.” The former ambassador also revealed that during one of the discussions with their US counterparts on the issue, Netanyahu removed Israel’s then National Security Council chief, Meir Ben Shabbat, off of a plane due to land in Africa, to send the Americans a clear message regarding Israel’s support for the decision.
Kushner’s book also reveals his claim that when Trump informed Netanyahu of his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, rather than expressing gratitude, Netanyahu said: “If you choose to do that, I will support you.” According to Kushner, this response compelled Trump to second-guess his decision to move the embassy.
But Dermer, who says he was involved in that conversation. explained Netanyahu’s ho-hum response saying: “I was on the call. It involved a cold intelligence analysis. Maybe that’s what led to the confusion.”
Dermer also rejected Kushner’s assertion that Netanyahu’s move to declare Israel’s annexation of the Jordan Valley as well as other regions of Judea in light of Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ in 2020 wasn’t coordinated with Washington.
“If Trump was surprised by the sovereignty move, it means that he did not know what he signed. And I am surprised that Jared was surprised because he has read these letters and he knows what is in them. He should be asked why he is surprised. It was explicitly stated in them that the US would support the application of Israeli law in those territories that the Trump plan marked as those that will remain in Israel’s hands, and that is about 30 percent of the territory” Dermer said.