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Oval Office

11:18 A.M. EST

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, thank you very much.  It’s an honor to have Prime Minister Netanyahu, a great friend of mine and a great friend of our country.  We’ve had a tremendous almost three-year relationship.  I’ve known you many years before that, but this was three years of primetime, and we’ve done a lot for Israel.  And the relationship, I think, has never been better.

We’re going to be discussing Mideast peace.  We’re going to be announcing a plan tomorrow at 12 o’clock.  And that’s a plan that Bibi and his opponent, I must say, have to like very much.  And I can say, in terms of Bibi, he does.  And I think in terms of his opponent, he does too.  I’ll be meeting with him in a little while.

But this is a plan that’s very important to peace in the Middle East.  No matter where I went, they say, “Israel and the Palestinians, they have to make peace before you can really have peace in the Middle East.”

So people have been working on this for many, many years, and I think we’re relatively close, but we have to get other people to agree with it also.

I will say, many of the Arab nations have agreed to it.  They like it.  They think it’s great.  They think it’s a big start.  I think it’s a big start too.  I think it’s a fantastic thing if we can pull it off.  They say it’s probably the most difficult deal anywhere and of any kind to make.

In the business world — when I was back in the business world, when a deal was tough, people would jokingly refer to it as, “This is tougher than Israel and the Palestinians getting together.”  And that’s what I’ve heard all my life, and so we’ll see what happens.  We have something that makes a lot of sense for everybody.

And we appreciate you being here, Mr. Prime Minister.  Great job you do.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  Thank you.  Thank you.  Mr. President, I just want to say two things: First, that the deal of the century is the opportunity of the century, and we’re not going to pass it by.  And we’ll talk about that tomorrow.

Today, I repeat, I just want to say thank you for everything you’ve done for the State of Israel.  You’ve been the greatest friend that Israel has had in the White House, and I think tomorrow we can continue making history.

Thank you, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Good.  I look forward to it.  Thank you very much.

Q    Mr. President, did you speak to the Palestinians about your plan to the Palestinian President?  Because there are reports that he refused to take your call.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  We will be reporting on that tomorrow.  It’s something they should want.  They probably won’t want it initially, but I think in the end they will.  I think in the end, they’re going to want it.  It’s very good for them.  In fact, it’s overly good to them.  So we’ll see what happens.  Now, without them, we don’t do the deal and that’s okay.  They’re not living well.

As you know, we cut off aid to Palestinians, and something I don’t like to do, but we did that.  And we think that there’s a very good chance that they’re going to want this.  I would say their initial — just as great negotiators — and they’re great negotiators.  Their initial response — and I have no idea what they’re going to say — would be, “Oh, we don’t want anything.”  But in the meantime, they’ll be negotiating.  So let’s see how it works.

So, tomorrow, at 12 o’clock, we’ll be announcing a plan, and it’s a very big plan.  It will be a suggestion between Israel and the Palestinians.  It’s the closest it’s ever come, and we’ll see what happens.  We have the support of the Prime Minister.  We have the support of the other parties.  And we think we will ultimately have the support of the Palestinians.  But we’re going to see.  And if we do, it’ll be a tremendous tribute to everybody.  And if we don’t, life goes on.

Thank you very much, everybody.  Thank you.

Q    Mr. President, what about the Bolton allegations ?


Q    False?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:   Totally false.


11:23 A.M. EST