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Despite Camaraderie, Key Issues Loom for Trump, Netanyahu

02-17-2017
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WASHINGTON – A rekindled friendship chased away any winter chill at The White House Wednesday. After years of tension with the Obama administration, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sees President Donald Trump as a key partner.
 
"I have known his family and his team for a long time and there is no greater supporter for the Jewish people and the Jewish state than President Donald Trump," commented Netanyau during a joint press conference with Trump.
 
But there are key issues to work on, starting with how to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
 
"As with any successful negotiations, both sides will have to make compromises. You know that, right?" Trump asked Netanyahu.

"Both sides," Netanyahu replied.
 
In comments that would no doubt anger Palestinian leaders, Trump said a two-state solution isn't a requirement for peace.

"So I am looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I am very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one," Trump said.
 
Netanyahu maintains Palestinians must recognize Israel's right to exist before any peace plan can move forward.
 
"You have to understand, why are Jews called Jews? The Chinese are called Chinese because they come from China. The Japanese are called Japanese because they come from Japan. Jews are called Jews because they come from Judea," Netanyahu explained.

"This is our ancestral homeland. Jews are not foreign colonialist in Judea," he finished.
 
The other thorny issue is on "so-called settlements" in Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank.  Netanyahu has pushed forward, but The White House says that may not be the best move for a peace deal. It's a topic CBN News asked about at their joint news conference.
 
"On the settlement issue, are you both on the same page? How do you exactly term that on the settlement issue?" asked CBN Chief Political Correspondent David Brody.
 
"I'd like to see you (Netanyahu) hold back on settlements for a little bit. We'll work something out, but I would like to see a deal be made. I think a deal will be made," said Trump.

"Let's try," said Netanyahu.

"Doesn't sound too optimistic, but that's okay. He's a good negotiator," Trump responded.

"That's the art of the deal," Netanyahu replied with a laugh, referring to Trump's 1987 book titled The Art of the Deal.
 
That moment also provided the president his first opportunity to address the controversy concerning Mike Flynn, who recently stepped down from his post as national security advisor.

Trump didn't address the timetable of what he knew about his campaign advisors talking with Russian officials. Instead, he blamed the media.

"I think he's been treated very, very unfairly by the media -- as I call it, the 'fake media' in many cases -- and I think it's really a sad thing that he was treated so badly," Trump began.

"I think in addition to that, from intelligence, papers are being leaked, things are being leaked. It's criminal action, criminal act and it's been going on for a long time, before me, but now it's really going on," he concluded. 

The key question remains whether the Trump administration can begin to plug these leaks so he can move forward with his agenda.

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