Photo of Donald Trump

Remarks Prior to a Meeting With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in Jerusalem

May 22, 2017

Prime Minister Netanyahu. Mr. President, it's a pleasure to see you again. I know you went to the Western Wall——

President Trump. I did.

Prime Minister Netanyahu ——and you touched the stones of our existence. And you're the first American—acting American President to do that. And I have to express our appreciation not only for that, but also for your friendship for the State of Israel, your understanding of our story, our struggles, our desire for peace. Which is—all of these things I want to talk to you about, including, including——

[At this point, a reporter in the audience could be heard speaking over President Netanyahu.]

Journalists can do that. They can take over.

President Trump. I know.

Prime Minister Netanyahu. Including Iran, including Syria, including the Palestinians, including the wonderful cooperation between our two countries, and anything else that you care to think about.

President Trump. Well, it's just been an honor to be here. The Western Wall was just incredible being there—spent time. And your folks have been so nice. As you know, I've been a big supporter of Israel for a long time. I've been a big supporter of yours for a long time. But it's just a magnificent place, with magnificent people. Many, many friends come from Israel. My great friends come from Israel. And I'm very honored to be here.

I was just told I'm the first active President been to the Western Wall, and that's a great honor. I was just told that. That, to me, is a great honor. And thank you very much. And I know we're going to have a meeting in a little while, which is momentarily, and ideally, we're going to work on a couple of things.

I just left—I will say, I just left Saudi Arabia, the King—we had an amazing 2 days. And their feeling toward Israel is really very positive. Tremendous progress has been made. I think a lot of that progress has been made because of the aggression of Iran. And it's forcing people together in a very positive way. And if you look at King Salman and Saudi Arabia, and others that I was with—UAE and Bahrain and Kuwait and so many others, it was something. It was very historic what took place over the last 2 days. But I could see a much deeper path to friendship with Israel, and I think a lot of that's spurred on—whatever it takes—but a lot of it's spurred on by what's happening with Iran. So progress has been made.

Prime Minister Netanyahu. I think that the fact that you've taken a very strong position on Iran—different position—not only helps security, but also helps propel the possibilities of reconciliation and peace between Israel and the Arab world. And that will help reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians. Of course, not all of that I like to discuss before the cameras, but I do look forward to our discussions, which I think are pregnant with possibilities. President Trump. But you know, with Iran—Iran should be very grateful to the United States, because Iran negotiated a fantastic deal with the previous administration, a deal that is unbelievable from any standpoint. Some people don't understand even how it could be even thought of. And instead of being thankful and saying thank you—because they were in serious trouble—I think they would have failed, totally failed within 6 months. We gave them a lifeline, and we not only gave them a lifeline, we gave them wealth and prosperity. And we also gave them an ability to continue with terror and with all of the things they've been doing. Because no matter where we go, we see the signs of Iran in the Middle East.

Prime Minister Netanyahu. Everywhere.

President Trump. No matter where we go—whether it's Syria where we were really forced to shoot the 59 missiles a few weeks ago. No matter what area we're in—we see Yemen, Iraq—no matter where we are, we see the signs—every sign—whether it's soldiers, whether it's money and guns, it's Iran.

And instead of saying thank you to the United States, they now feel emboldened. Maybe they figure the deal was so good, we can do it every time. They can't do it, believe me. But it was a terrible, terrible thing for the United States to enter that deal. And believe me, Iran will never have a nuclear weapon. That I can tell you.

Prime Minister Netanyahu. Thank you, Mr. President.

[President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu posed for photographs.]

Q. Mr. Prime Minister, are you concerned about intelligence cooperation?

Prime Minister Netanyahu. Intelligence cooperation is terrific.

NOTE: The President spoke at approximately 6:05 p.m. at the King David Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to King Salman bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. The transcript, prepared for immediate release by the Office of the Press Secretary, was received by the Office of the Federal Register on July 27.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks Prior to a Meeting With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in Jerusalem Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under





Simple Search of Our Archives