Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed optimism about the incoming Trump administration and its ability to work with Israel on pressing matters in the Middle East, telling 60 Minutes he expected a more productive relationship with the President-elect than with his predecessor.
During the sit-down interview with Lesley Stahl, Netanyahu praised Donald Trump, saying his support for the Jewish state “is clear”, and referencing Trump’s recent statements regarding his “warm feelings” towards Israel.
“I know Donald Trump. I know him very well. And I think his attitude, his support for Israel is clear. He feels very warmly about the Jewish state, about the Jewish people and about Jewish people. There’s no question about that.”
In contrast, Netanyahu mentioned the “differences of opinion” between himself and outgoing President Barack Obama, citing the Iranian nuke deal.
President Trump, he suggested, would be far more inclined to dismantle the Iran nuclear agreement – something Trump himself claimed on the campaign trail.
But aside from signaling some enthusiasm in discussing the Iran issue with the President-elect, the Prime Minister said he also hopes the warmer ties with the White House could enable progress on the diplomatic front – and even a final status agreement including the establishment of a Palestinian state.
“I’m willing to negotiate with [the Palestinian Authority] at any moment,” said Netanyahu. “I haven’t reversed my position. I’ve said, ‘Look, we will solve this because we want two nation states at peace and with the proper security arrangements.’ Two states for two peoples…. that’s where I’m focused.”
“I’d like to have President Trump, when he gets into the White House, help me work on that. I’d like to see if the Arab states can help me achieve that. It’s a new reality. A new possibility.”