President Donald Trump asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday to hold off on building settlements in the West Bank in order to pursue peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
“As far as settlement, I would like to see you hold back on settlements for a bit,” said Trump, while turning to face Netanyahu at a joint press conference. “We [will] work something out. I think a deal will be made. I know every president, most of them did not start until late. They never thought it was possible. And it wasn’t possible because they didn’t do it.”
Trump added that he and the Israeli leader have known each other for a long time, and reaching a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians “may be a bigger deal than people in this room understand.” Netanyahu responded soberly, which Trump said did not “sound too optimistic.”
“That is the art of the deal,” quipped Netanyahu.