U.S. President Donald Trump was full of optimism as he faced reporters at a joint news briefing together with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at midday Monday ahead of the United Nations General Assembly. The two are both scheduled to speak before the General Assembly on Tuesday (Sept. 19).
High on the agenda for discussion in their meeting, said Trump, was “peace between the Palestinians and Israel,” which he said “would be a fantastic achievement. We are giving it an absolute ‘go’ … I think there’s a good chance that it could happen, most people would say there’s no chance whatsoever; I actually think with the capability of Bibi and frankly the other side I really think we have a chance.
“I think Israel would like to see it and I think the Palestinians would like to see it and I can tell you that the Trump administration would like to see it so we’re working very hard on it, we’ll see what happens. Historically, people say it can’t happen; I say it can happen,” the president added.
Israel’s prime minister responded by first thanking the president for strengthening the alliance between Israel and the United States, saying the relationship under Trump “has never been stronger, never been deeper. I can say this in ways that people see, and in ways that people don’t see,” Netanyahu underlined, “so I want to thank you for that.”
Trump nodded, clearly aware of what Netanyahu was referring to.
The prime minister quickly moved to his main concern: Iran. “I look forward to discussing with you how we can address together what you rightly call the terrible nuclear deal with Iran, and how to roll back Iran’s growing aggression in the region, especially in Syria,” he said.
It’s already known that Netanyahu will focus a great deal of his speech on Tuesday on this issue as well. But he moved on to the next point, noting that a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority is very high on the president’s agenda.
“As you said, we will discuss the ways we can seize the opportunity for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and between Israel and the Arab world,” he agreed. “I think these things go together,” he said.
The third point — one that is a major issue when he travels abroad and meets with foreign leaders — was again to thank the president for his support for Israel at the United Nations.
“Under President Trump, America’s position toward Israel at the UN has been unequivocal. It’s been strong. It’s got both clarity and conviction,” Netanyahu pointed out. And I want to thank you on behalf of the people of Israel, and Israel’s many friends around the world: thank you Mr. President.”