Washington – U.S. President Donald Trump pledged on Wednesday to back Israel in facing its security challenges, during his first official meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since he took office in January.
Trump hinted at his readiness to accept any agreement reached by the Israelis and Palestinians, even if such agreement did not entail the establishment of two independent states.
“I’m looking at two state and one state, and I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one,” Trump said.
Trump also told Netanyahu that he would like to see Israel “hold back on settlements a little bit.”
In response to Trump’s remarks, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas demanded a halt to Israeli settlement expansion in occupied territory and said he was committed to a two-state solution to the conflict with Israel.
Abbas’ office issued a statement right after the end of a joint news conference between Trump and Netanyahu in Washington.
“The Palestinian presidency stressed its commitment to the two-state solution and to the international law and international legitimacy in the way that secures ending the Israeli occupation and establish the Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital,” the statement said.
Back to the White House, the U.S. president pledged to support Israel in facing all security challenges ahead.
“The security challenges faced by Israel are enormous, including the threat of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which I’ve talked a lot about,” he stated.
He also reiterated his decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
“As far as the embassy moving to Jerusalem, I’d love to see that happen. We’re looking at it very, very strongly. We’re looking at it with great care — great care, believe me. And we’ll see what happens,” he told reporters.
The Israeli prime minister arrived in Washington late Monday on an official visit.
Prior to his meeting with Trump, he held a series of talks with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, among other officials.
In a first, Netanyahu said that Arab states could be an ally to the U.S. and Israel in facing the Iranian threats.
“I think that if we work together — and not just the United States and Israel, but so many others in the region who see eye to eye on the great magnitude and danger of the Iranian threat, then I think we can roll back Iran’s aggression and danger. And that’s something that is important for Israel, the Arab states, but I think it’s vitally important for America,” he stated.