US President Donald Trump meets with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington in March. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK - US President Donald Trump backed a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the first time meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday in New York.
"I think that's what works best," Trump told the prime minister, repeating his support several times.
The president had previously equivocated on the two-state solution, which has long been the preferred end state for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His Middle East peace team, which was present, has yet to use the term in public or in private to describe the framework of their plan.
He also defended Israel's right to respond militarily to threats to its borders on all sides.
The American president stated: "They're aggressive, and they have no choice but to be aggressive– it's a very difficult part of the world."
Aides said Trump's meeting with Netanyahu was likely to focus on threats posed by Iran, the primary target of the president's speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
Trump was joined in his meeting with Netanyahu by his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo; his national security adviser, John Bolton; White House chief of staff John Kelly and senior advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, among others.
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"We are with you," Trump added. "We are with Israel one hundred percent."
Netanyahu once again praised Trump for moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. "You have changed history, and you've touched our hearts," the prime minister said. And Netanyahu thanked him for backing up his "strong words" on Tehran's behavior "with strong actions."
"We living in the Middle East who are subject to this Iranian behavior" support Trump's Iran policies, Netanyahu said. Trump pulled out of a nuclear deal with Iran in May that was supported by the rest of the UN Security Council and the European Union.
He also praised Trump for his "robust defense of Israel's right of self-defense" and for his administration's efforts to shield Israel from bias at the UN.
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