Netanyahu and Trump give press conference in Washington ahead of meeting

Leaders address the press ahead of much anticipated meeting; Trump: Israel is a symbol to the world of resilience in the face of oppression; Netanyahu: I believe that under your leadership, this change in our region creates an unprecedented opportunity to increase security and advance peace. 

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Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Trump gave a press conference in Washington Wednesday ahead of their much anticipated meeting currently underway.

Addressing the press, both leaders answered questions on topics including Iran, Israeli settlements, the peace process, a two-state solution, moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, growing global anti-Semitism and much more.

President Trump addressed the press first, stating, “Today I have the honor of welcoming my friend, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House. With his visit the United States again reaffirms our unbreakable bond with our cherished ally, Israel. The partnership between our two countries built upon on our shared values has advanced the cause of human freedom, dignity and peace. These are the building blocks of democracy.”

He spoke of Israel as “a symbol to the world of resilience in the face of oppression,” adding that he can think of “no other state, which has gone through what they have gone, and their survival in the face of genocide. We will never forget what the Jewish people have endured.” He added “Your perseverance in the face of hostility, your open democracy in the face of violence and your success in the face of tall odds is truly inspirational.

On security and Iran, Trump vowed to never allow Iran to permit a nuclear weapon, stating “The security challenges faced by Israel are enormous, including the threat of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which I have talked a lot about, one of the worst deals I have ever seen is the Iran deal. My Administration has already imposed new sanctions on Iran and I will do more to prevent Iran from ever developing- I mean ever- a nuclear weapon.”

On the United States security assistance to Israel, Trump stated “Our security assistance to Israel is currently at an all time high, ensuring that Israel has the ability to defend itself from threats, of which there are unfortunately many.”

He spoke of future and continued cooperation between Israel and the United States stating “Both of our countries will continue and grow, we have a long history of cooperation in the fight against terrorism and the fight against those who do not value human life.” He addressed the ideal that both America and Israel have in common, and how both nations “cherish the value of all human life.”

On anti-Israel efforts and action, particular in the United Nations, Trump stated “This is one more reason why we reject unfair and one-sided actions against Israel at the United Nations which has treated Israel, in my opinion, very, very unfairly, or other international forums, as well as boycotts that target Israel.”

The President spoke of his Administration’s commitment to “working with Israel and our common allies in the region towards greater security and stability.” He then addressed the peace process with the Palestinians adding “That includes working towards a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The United States will encourage a peace, and really a great peace deal. We will be working on it very, very diligently.”

On the peace process he stated that “This is very important to me also, something we want to do. But it is the parties themselves who must directly negotiate such an agreement. We will be beside them, working with them.”

On negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority he emphasized the compromised, stating, “As with any successful negotiations, both sides will have to make compromises.”

Addressing the Israeli people, he stated “I want the Israeli people to know that the United States stands with Israel in the struggle against terrorism. As you know, Mr. Prime Minister, our two nations will always condemn terrorist acts,” adding that “ peace requires nations to uphold the dignity of human life and to be a voice for all of those who are endangered and forgotten. Those are the ideals to which we all and will always aspire and commit.”

He ended his addresses again welcoming Prime Minister Netanyahu and adding “This will be the first of many productive meetings.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu then gave his address, thanking both the President and his wife for the warm welcome. He stated “I deeply value your friendship. To me, to the State of Israel, which was so clearly evident in the words you just spoke. Israel has no better ally than the United States and I want to assure you the United States has no better ally than Israel.”

On current and future US-Israel relations, he stated, “Our alliance has been remarkably strong, but under your leadership I am confident it will get even stronger. I look forward to working with you to dramatically upgrade our alliance in every field, in security, in technology, in cyber and trade and so many others and I certainly welcome your forthright call to ensure that Israel is treated fairly in international forums and that the slander and boycotts of Israel are resisted mightily by the power and moral position of the United States of America.”

He referred to Trump’s remarks on radical Islam and the threats it poses to the globe, stating “Our alliance is based on a deep bond of common values and common interests and increasingly those values and interests are under attack by one ambivalent force: radical Islamic terror. Mr. President you have shown great clarity and courage in confronting this challenge head on.”

Netanyahu spoke of Trump’s previous remarks on his Administration’s commitment to halting a nuclear Iran, stating “You call for confronting Iran’s terrorist regime, preventing Iran from realizing this terrible deal into a nuclear arsenal and have you said that the United Sates is committed to preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons.” He also stated “You call for the defeat of ISIS,” adding “Under your leadership, I believe we can reverse the rising tide of radical Islam and in this great task, as with so many others, Israel stands with you and I stand with you.”

The Prime Minister then spoke of growing support from Arab states for the State of Israel and that “In rolling back militant Islam we can seize an historic opportunity, because for the first time in my lifetime and the first time and for the first time in the lifetime of my country, Arab countries do not see Israel as an enemy, but increasingly as an ally.”

He finished by stating that under the Trump Administration “I believe that under your leadership, this change in our region creates an unprecedented opportunity to increase security and advance peace.” He called for both Israel and the United States to “seize this moment together, let us bolster security, let us seek new avenues of peace and let us bring the remarkable alliance between Israel and the United States to even greater heights.”