Trump, Netanyahu discuss US-Israeli relations at White House

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Donald Trump,Melania Trump,Sara Netanyahu,Benjamin Netanyahu President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, joined by their wives first lady Melania Trump, right, and Sara Netanyahu, left, are photographed as they meet in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday asked Israel’s prime minister to “hold off” on building Jewish settlements in land the Palestinians claim for their future state, yet held back from explicitly endorsing support for a future independent Palestine.

CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports from the White House.

Trump, Netanyahu discuss US-Israeli relations at White House

Trump, Netanyahu discuss US-Israeli relations at White House

President Donald Trump on Wednesday asked Israel's prime minister to "hold off" on building Jewish settlements in land the Palestinians claim for their future state, yet held back from explicitly endorsing support for a future independent Palestine. CGTN's Jessica Stone reports from the White House.

After weeks of dancing around the issue of expanded Israeli settlements, Trump made the request to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a joint news conference at the White House preceding their private discussions. It is Netanyahu’s first trip to Washington since Trump became president.

While Trump’s call echoed that of past U.S. presidents, who’ve considered Israeli housing construction in east Jerusalem and the West Bank an obstacle to a Mideast peace deal, the American leader broke with his predecessors on the idea of a two-state agreement.

While such an accord may have once appeared to be the “easier of the two” options, Trump said he’d be open to alternatives if the two sides propose something better.

Watch the full news conference here. 

The two leaders were to discuss peace efforts as well as Iran and Trump’s campaign pledge to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Relocating the embassy would signal American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a move that would infuriate Palestinians.

They claim the eastern sector of the city, captured by Israel in the 1967 war, as their capital.
Trump said Wednesday he’d like to see the embassy moved but that he is studying the issue closely.

Story by The Associated Press with additional information from CGTN.


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