Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to express great optimism about the future of the U.S.-Israel relationship, now that Barack Obama no longer resides in the White House.
An enthusiastic Netanyahu greeted President Trump with great optimism Monday on the second leg of the latter’s Middle East trip, which brings the president to the Jewish state for the next two days.
Trump and Netanyahu exchanged in the common pleasantries typically seen amongst allies. Both committed to strengthen the “unbreakable bond” between the two states. They also discussed mutual security threats, such as the Islamic State terror group and the terrorist regime that controls Iran. Trump pushed for a future in which Israel lives side by side with the Palestinians — but, unlike Obama, did not make public demands upon the Israelis to make painful concessions.
Perhaps what stuck out most about the meeting was Netanyahu’s openness, and relief, about the fact that there is a new administration in Washington. Under President Barack Obama, the U.S.-Israel relationship struggled, as the former’s commander in chief empowered the despotic regime in Tehran, and delivered legitimacy to the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist entities.
Obama infamously signed a nuclear deal with the Iranian regime that gave countless billions to the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror. Netanyahu vehemently rejected the supposed merits of the deal, and the ensuing divide caused a cooling of relations between Israel and the Obama administration.
At their meeting in Jerusalem, Israel, Netanyahu told President Trump bluntly: “I want you to know how much we appreciate the change in American policy on Iran.”
“I look forward to working closely with you to confront the dangers we face together in this violent and volatile Middle East. I believe that together we can roll back Iran's march of aggression and terror in this region, and we can thwart Iran's unbridled ambition to become a nuclear weapon state,” Netanyahu added.
In his comments, Trump spoke about “an Iranian regime that is threatening the region and causing so much violence and suffering.”
On the policy side, Trump has yet to enact his campaign promise to renegotiate or tear up the Iran nuclear deal, which he called the “worst deal ever.” His administration has recertified the deal for the next 90 days, promising to reevaluate whether agreement is in the best interests of American national security.
Departing from the Obama era, President Trump has spoken out strongly about the evils of the regime in Iran. This weekend, the White House announced plans to blacklist leaders of the terror proxy group Hezbollah, which takes direction from Tehran.
“The Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims are its own people. Iran has a rich history and culture, but the people of Iran have endured hardship and despair under their leaders’ reckless pursuit of conflict and terror,” Trump said during his speech in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
Additionally, Trump has not yet commented on his campaign promise to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital. Right now, his policies remain the same as the Obama administration’s when it comes to recognizing Jerusalem as sovereign Israeli territory.
On Tuesday, President Trump will meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, then depart for Italy, where he will visit with leaders in Rome and Vatican City.