The White House reports that President Trump told PM Netanyahu that peace with the Palestinians can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties.
By Elad Benari
President Donald Trump told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday that peace with the Palestinian Authority (PA) can only be reached through direct negotiations, the White House said on Sunday night, in a statement released after the two leaders spoke by phone – their first conversation since Trump was sworn in on Friday.
The statement indicated that Trump and Netanyahu “discussed ways to advance and strengthen the U.S.-Israel special relationship, and security and stability in the Middle East.”
The statement also confirmed that Trump had invited Netanyahu for a meeting in Washington in February, as the Prime Minister’s Office had indicated earlier.
“The President emphasized the importance the United States places on our close military, intelligence, and security cooperation with Israel, which reflects the deep and abiding partnership between our countries. The President and the Prime Minister agreed to continue to closely consult on a range of regional issues, including addressing the threats posed by Iran,” it said.
Trump “affirmed his unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security and stressed that countering ISIL and other radical Islamic terrorist groups will be a priority for his Administration,” the statement said, using the alternative acronym for the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group.
“The President emphasized that peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be negotiated directly between the two parties, and that the United States will work closely with Israel to make progress towards that goal,” continued the White House.
Trump has indicated in the past that he would like to help broker a deal between Israel and the PA, and thus bring an end to “the war that never ends.”
“That’s the ultimate deal,” he told The Wall Street Journal shortly after his election in November. “As a deal maker, I’d like to do…the deal that can’t be made. And do it for humanity’s sake.”
The White House statement came after Trump had earlier on Sunday said his phone conversation with Netanyahu was “very nice” but did not provide details.
The call between the two came amid speculation regarding possible progress in the proposed relocation of the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The White House statement did not mention the embassy move.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Sunday that the Trump administration had begun deliberations on the move, but were still “at the very beginning stages of even discussing this subject.”
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