Netanyahu: Trump and I Will ‘Make History’ This Week in Washington

US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talk during welcome ceremony in Tel Aviv, Monday, May 22,2017. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday vowed to “make history” as he boarded a plane to Washington for what is expected to be the unveiling of President Donald Trump’s long awaited peace plan, which the Israeli leader said was sure to advance Israel’s vital interests.

“I am going to Washington to meet an American president that is proposing a deal that I believe will advance Israel’s most vital interests,” Netanyahu told reporters from Ben Gurion Airport.

“Over the last three years, I spoke countless times with President Trump — a great friend of Israel — and his team about these vital security needs, about our security, about our justice,” he said. “I will meet with President Trump tomorrow, and on Tuesday, together with him, we will make history.”

Netanyahu recalled a trip he made under very different circumstances when Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, was in office.

“Five years ago, I went to Washington, to Congress, because I was forced to oppose a plan proposed by the American president, because I believed that this plan endangered Israel’s most vital security needs and indeed its very existence,” he said in reference to the Obama-led Iran nuclear deal.

Netanyahu’s main challenger, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, also headed for Washington on Sunday for a separate meeting with Trump.

On Saturday, Gantz announced that Trump had invited him to a meeting “in person, as the leader of the largest party in Israel.”

The plan, which Trump said he would release before his meeting Tuesday, is expected to strongly favor Israel, and is unlikely to garner any international support if it is seen as undermining the prospect of a two-state solution.

The prime minister made similar remarks earlier in the day Sunday at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.

“We are in the midst of very dramatic diplomatic events, but the peak is yet before us,” he said.

“I will soon leave for Washington where I will meet with my friend, US President Donald Trump, who will present his ‘plan of the century.’ I think that such an opportunity occurs once in history and we cannot miss it,” he added.

“For three years, I have spoken with President Trump and his staff about our security and national needs – many dozens of conversations, hundreds of hours. In all these talks, I have found an attentive ear in the White House to the State of Israel’s vital needs.

“I am leaving for Washington with a sense of great mission, great responsibility and great opportunity, and I am full of hope that we will be able to make history,” he concluded.

The Trump administration’s peace proposal will be the most generous American peace plan ever for Israel, a Channel 12 report said citing an unnamed source. It would allow for Israeli sovereignty over all West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley alongside a recognition of demilitarized Palestinian state.

 

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