“This was never brought up by any negotiators,” Trump said, “But it’s brought up by me.”
Mr. Trump was alluding to his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, breaking the U.S.’s longstanding policy that the city’s final status would be determined by peace negotiations.
“We took Jerusalem off the table so we don’t have to talk about it anymore,” he said Thursday. “What I did with Jerusalem was my honor.”
Trump said that a small version of the U.S. embassy in Israel will be opened in Jerusalem “sometime next year.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’ve developed a great relationship, both as countries where I think it’s never been stronger, and I can honestly say that & also as personal friends. We have discussions going with Israel on many things, including trade. But the big move, and something that was very historic, and very important, was the fact that we will be moving our embassy, as you know, to Jerusalem. And as we also know, that is way ahead of schedule, by years, and we anticipate having a small version of it opened sometime next year. So that’s a long time ahead of schedule. And it’s an honor. And it’s a great honor to be with you. Thank you very much.
PM NETANYAHU: Thank you, thank you, Mr. President, Donald, thank you. Mr. President, I want to say something, because this is the first meeting we’ve had since your historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the embassy, and now to expedite the movement of the embassy to Jerusalem. And I want to say that this is a historic decision that will be forever etched in the hearts.
By recognizing history, you’ve made history, and we will always remember that. We also support you completely in your stalwart position on the Iran nuclear deal. You’ve said it’s a disastrous deal. You said that if its fatal flaws are not fixed, you should walk away from it. And I want you to know that if you decide to do that, then we will back you all the way.
We also appreciate the fact that you confront Iran’s aggression, with us and with other parties in the region as never before. I’ve never seen the holistic alliance between the United States, Israel and your other allies in the region, as strong, as unified, as it is under your leadership.
And the last one is, you’ve stood up for Israel at the UN in a remarkable way, rock solid support. This is a place, it’s a house of slander against Israel and against the United States. And by word and deed, you have told them, “enough is enough.”
As you finish your first year in office, I want to say that I look forward to continuing our remarkable, tremendous friendship in the years ahead, and I want to express the appreciation of the people of Israel to you.
Thank you, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much, Bibi. Thank you. It’s my honor.
I have to say on the UN, we were pretty much out in the wilderness by ourselves, the U.S. And we heard every country was going to be against us.
And it was very interesting. I said, you know, we give billions and billions of dollars to these countries. It amounts to hundreds of millions, and sometimes into the billions for certain countries, and they vote against us. And I made a very simple statement: that I’m watching. I’m watching. And we ended up getting 68 votes, either ‘yes’ or ‘we’ll take a neutral position,’ which was okay too.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Which was essentially a ‘yes’ as well, but we ended up getting a lot of votes that we were, which I would say, virtually we were going to get none. And we give billions of dollars away every year to countries, and in many cases those countries don’t even support us, they don’t support the US. Israel has always supported the US, so what I did with Jerusalem was my honor.
And hopefully we can do something with peace. I would love to see it. You know, if you look back at the various peace proposals, and they are endless, and I spoke to some of the people involved, and I said, ‘Did you ever talk about the vast amounts of money that we give to the Palestinians. We give, you know, hundreds of millions of dollars, and they said, ‘we never talk about it.’ Well, we do talk about it. And when they disrespected us a week ago by not allowing our great vice president to see them, and we give them hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and support, tremendous numbers, numbers that nobody understands, that money is on the table and that money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace.
Because I can tell you that Israel does want to make peace, and they’re going to have to want to make peace too, or we’re going to have nothing to do with them any longer. This was never brought up by other negotiators, but it’s brought up by me.
So I will say that the hardest subject they had to talk about was Jerusalem. We took Jerusalem off the table, so we don’t have to talk about it anymore. They never got past Jerusalem.
We took it off the table. We don’t have to talk about it anymore. You won one point, and you’ll give up some points later on the negotiation, if it ever takes place. I don’t know that it ever will take place. But they have to respect the process also, and they have to respect the fact that the US has given tremendous support to them over the years in terms of monetary support and other support.
So we’ll see what happens with the peace process, but respect has to be shown to the US or we’re just not going any further. Thank you all very much.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much everybody.[Reporters Shouting]
REPORTER: Mr. President, any comments on Abu Mazen’s remarks regarding you personally.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, I didn’t really read his remarks personally. I think I’m probably better off not seeing them. But we’ve done a lot for them, and hopefully they’re going to make peace for their people. You know what, it’s many years of killing people, it’s many years of killing each other. They have to be tired and disgusted of it. So let’s see what happens. I think eventually very sound minds.
I hope sound minds are going to prevail. And it would be a great achievement if we could make peace between Israel and the Palestinians. If we do that, I would consider that one of our truly great achievements.
But the money is on the table. You know, the money was never on the table, I tell you up front. We give them tremendous amounts, hundreds of millions of dollars a year. That money is on the table. Because why should we do that as a country if they’re doing nothing for us?
And what we want to do for them is help them. We want to create peace and save lives. And we’ll see what happens. We’ll see what happens. But the money is on the table. Thank you very much everybody. Thank you.