Iran, Peace Process Jostle for Priority as Netanyahu Hails Trump’s Support for Israel at New York Meeting
US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York City on Monday, with the Israeli leader emphasizing the threat posed by Iran, while the president spent most of his time at their joint press conference talking up the prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
“We’re going to be discussing many things, among them peace between the Palestinians and Israel,” Trump said before his private meeting with Netanyahu — whom he called “Bibi.”
“It will be a fantastic achievement,” Trump promised. “And we are giving it an absolute go. I think there’s a good chance that it could happen.”
Trump then addressed the skeptics, saying, “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.”
Continued the president: “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.”
While Trump’s sole reference to Iran was a jocular “you’ll be seeing very soon” when asked whether the US would certify the 2015 Iran nuclear deal on October 15 — as is legally required every ninety days — the Tehran regime’s regional ambitions were at the top of Netanyahu’s agenda.
“I look forward to discussing with you how we can address together what you rightly call a terrible nuclear deal with Iran, and how to roll back Iran’s growing aggression in the region, especially in Syria,” Netanyahu said.
Stressing Israel’s view that any future peace process must take on a regional character, Netanyahu told Trump, “As you said, we will discuss the ways we can seize the opportunity for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and Israel and the Arab world. I think these things go together.”
Netanyahu warmly praised Trump for his conduct of America’s bilateral relations with Israel. “Under your leadership the alliance between America and Israel has never been stronger, never been deeper,” he said.
“I can say this in ways that people see and in ways that they don’t see, so I want to thank you for that,” Netanyahu declared. “And I want to say that under President Trump, America’s position towards Israel at the UN has been unequivocal, it’s been strong, it’s got both clarity and conviction. And I want thank you on behalf of the people of Israel and Israel’s many friends around the world.”
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) September 18, 2017