President Trump Holds Joint Press Conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu In Washington DC 02/15/2017
EDITOR’S NOTE: PM Netanyahu today in Washington said that there is “no greater friend of Israel than President Donald Trump”. President Trump for his part said “there is no daylight between Israel and the United States”. President Trump did not make definitive moves forward on moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem other to say he was still “studying the issue”.
President Trump hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House Wednesday for a series of meetings intended to “show there is no daylight” between the two leaders on a range of issues, White House aides say.
And that includes the so-called “two-state solution” that has been a hallmark of U.S. policy in the Middle East — and a source of friction between the Netanyahu government and Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama.
The two-state solution calls for a negotiated settlement leading to a Palestinian nation alongside Israel, and it was the U.S. policy under both the Bush and Obama administrations. But ahead of Netanyahu’s visit with Trump — which will include business meetings, a working lunch and a joint press conference — the Trump administration appeared to back away from that policy.
The two sides have to agree on a two-state solution, and the United States can’t impose it on them, said a senior White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomatic negotiations.
But despite the public showing of solidarity, the Trump White House has been slow to distance itself from the policies of his predecessors in a number of areas, including:
► The location of the U.S. embassy. A 1995 law requires the president to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but every president since has invoked a national security waiver to block the move. Trump has signaled that he wants to end that policy, but has moved cautiously in his first weeks.
► The Iran nuclear deal. During the campaign, Trump threatened to “rip up” the agreement negotiated by the Obama administration and five other global powers with Iran to scale down its nuclear program. But even as the Trump administration has leveled new sanctions for Iran’s missile tests, Trump has not made any moves to break the Obama-era agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
► The Islamic State. Trump has made defeating the terrorist group in Syria and Iraq the overarching goal of his foreign policy — to the extent that he’s been willing to rethink the role of old rivalries and alliances. As the closest U.S. ally in the region, Trump will seek to coordinate anti-terrorism strategy with Israel, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday. “They will discuss ways to advance and strengthen the special relationship between our two countries and stability in the Middle East,” he said.
► Israeli settlements. In an unexpected change in tone this month, the White House responded to continued Israeli settlements in the West Bank with a statement saying those settlements “may not be helpful” in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A Middle East peace agreement has eluded U.S. presidents for generations, but Trump — who lacks diplomatic experience but built a real estate empire — has said he thinks he can broker “the ultimate deal.” source