President Donald Trump said he would support the peace agreement Israel and Palestinians “like the best” in a joint press conference during which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu railed against Palestinian efforts to reach a deal.
“I’m looking at two state and one state. And I like the one that both parties like,” Trump said when asked about a peace agreement.
Trump’s meeting with Netanyahu on Wednesday was an initial test of Trump’s campaign pledge to go further than President Obama in strengthening the relationship with Israel. By the end of Obama’s tenure in office, his relationship with Netanyahu was extremely strained and then-Secretary of State John Kerry blasted the Israeli government in an unprecedented speech before leaving that role.
Trump said the U.S. was looking “very, very strongly” at moving the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the disputed holy city that both Palestinians and Israelis lay claim to. The move would anger both Palestinians and Arab nations in what would be one of the strongest displays of U.S. support for Israel in recent times.
But while Trump and Netanyahu agreed on many points, the two leaders did show some difference on the issue of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and West Bank that have been condemned by the United Nations.
“I would like you to hold back on settlements for a little bit,” Trump said.
Trump’s efforts to improve relations could potentially be aided by son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a political novice, who attended the press conference with his wife, Ivanka.
“I’ve known the president and his family for a long time and there’s no greater support of the Jewish people and the Jewish state than President Donald Trump,” Netanyahu said during the press conference.
Netanyahu began the press conference by praising the new president for renewing the bond between the allies. The Israeli leader said “both sides” need to work towards peace and slammed Palestinians for their “hate” of Israel.
“They continue to call for Israel’s destruction inside their schools, inside their mosques, inside their textbooks. You have to read it to believe it,” Netanyahu said.
Trump said he believes Israel wants a peace deal, but added, “the Palestinians have to get rid of some of the hate that they’re taught at a young age. They’re taught tremendous hate. I’ve seen what they’re taught.”
–NBC News, Andrew Rafferty