US President Donald Trump on Monday said he might travel to Israel to attend the opening ceremony of his country’s new embassy in Jerusalem.
Trump made the statement during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office.
In December, Trump reversed decades of US policy to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Netanyahu termed the decision “historic” during his meeting with the US president on Monday.
“We’re looking at coming,” Trump said. “If I can, I will.”
Netanyahu heralded Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.
“This will be remembered by our people through the ages,” Netanyahu said during brief remarks.
Trump’s push to modify or scrap Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal and concerns over Tehran’s growing foothold in Syria featured prominently during the talks.
“If I had to say what is our greatest challenge in the Middle East to both our countries, to our Arab neighbours, it’s encapsulated in one word: Iran,” Netanyahu said. “Iran must be stopped. That is our common challenge.”
Netanyahu is in Washington for the annual conference of American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the powerful pro-Israel lobby, and is due to speak at the conference later in the week.
Top-ranking US officials including Vice President Mike Pence and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley will also address the conference.
The meeting also provides a chance for Netanyahu to steer away from corruption investigations in Israel and towards his biggest foreign policy priority, combatting Iran.
Trump’s controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has outraged Palestinians, who see Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
Trump’s long-awaited peace plan is yet to be completed and even so, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called for an end to the United States’ usual role as mediator between Israel and Palestine.
“It has become impossible today for one country or state alone to solve a regional or international conflict,” Abbas said in February at a UN Security Council meeting on the Middle East. “It is essential to establish a multilateral international mechanism emanating from an international conference.”