The Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Under twin clouds of legal investigation, President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented a united front on Monday, Trump announcing he might travel to Jerusalem to preside over the opening of the new U.S. Embassy Netanyahu had wanted, and the Israeli lavishing praise on the American leader.
In a show of strong support for Netanyahu, who faces corruption allegations at home, Trump dangled the possibility of his second visit to Israel as president.
However, he said nothing about whether he would use the trip to unveil his much-vaunted but still mysterious peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians.
The president said his controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city had improved chances for ending the conflict, despite Palestinians’ insistence otherwise.
The two steps enraged the Palestinians, who claim part of Jerusalem for the capital of an eventual state and accuse Trump of abandoning the U.S. role of honest broker.
Trump and his wife, Melania, welcomed Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, to the White House just hours after Israeli police announced that a third confidant of the prime minister had agreed to turn state’s witness in the burgeoning corruption case.
Netanyahu and his wife were questioned separately by police for hours on Friday before their departure for Washington.
Monday’s meeting also came amid the continuing U.S. investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign, a probe that may have implications for the president’s Mideast peace point man, son-in-law Jared Kushner, who recently lost his top secret security clearance.
And it took place as profound turmoil in the Middle East threatens hopes of a resumption in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and attempts to restore stability in the volatile region more broadly.Speech