January 29, 2020
US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu delivered a joint address at the White House Tuesday afternoon.
"Today Israel takes a big step towards peace," Trump said at the start of his remarks. "Young people across the Middle East are ready for a more hopeful future, and governments throughout the region are realizing that terrorism and Islamic extremism are everyone's common enemy."
"Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting with both the prime minister of Israel and a man that's working very hard to become the prime minister of Israel in the longest-running election of all time, Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party. And both leaders joined me to express their support for this effort, proving that the State of Israel is looking for peace, and that peace transcends politics by any measure," Trump added.
The president said that he was "deeply moved and amazed by what the small country [of Israel] had achieved in the face of overwhelming odds."
"The State of Israel comprises only a minuscule amount of land in the Middle East, and yet it has become a thriving center of democracy, innovation, culture, and commerce. Israel is a light unto the world," Trump declared.
The president revealed details of his long-awaited 'Deal of the Century' for Middle East peace.
As part of his plan, Trump declared that Jerusalem would remain the "undivided capital" of Israel. However, he later stated that the Palestinian Arabs would have a capital in eastern Jerusalem.
Inside the plan itself, which was released Tuesday, the Trump administration calls for most of the city to remain unified under Israeli sovereignty, while turning Arab neighborhoods outside of the security barrier into "Al Quds", the capital of Palestine.
He said that the plan also endorsed a Two-State solution.
He thanked Prime Minister Netanyahu for "having the courage" to make the concessions necessary for the deal.
He further stated that "no Palestinians or Israelis will be uprooted from their homes."
Trump promised that the plan would pose "no security risk" to Israel.
"We will not allow a return to the days of bus bombings, nightclub attacks, and relentless terror," Trump said. "Peace requires compromise, but we will never ask Israel to compromise its security."
He noted that he wanted the deal to benefit the Palestinian Arabs as well. "Palestinians are in poverty and violence, exploited by those seeking to use them as pawns to advance terrorism and extremism."
"Today's agreement is a historic opportunity for the Palestinians to finally achieve an independent state of their very own. After 70 years of little progress, this could be the last opportunity" for a Palestinian Arab state, he said.
He called on the Palestinian Authority to respect human rights, end its payments to terrorists, and fight terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Describing the concessions Israel would have to make, Trump called for a four-year freeze on construction of Israeli communities in the area earmarked for a Palestinian state under the plan.
Trump thanked Netanyahu, as well as the Arab states Oman, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates for their assistance in drafting the plan.
Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke after Trump. He thanked the president for his support for Israel.
"Your peace plan strikes a balance where other plans have failed," Netanyahu told Trump. "With everything you've done for Israel, I'm not surprised. You are the greatest friend Israel has ever had in the White House."
"This is an historic day, and it recalls another historic day [when President Truman recognized the State of Israel]. You will be remembered in history; you charted a brilliant future for Israelis and Palestinians," Netanyahu added.
The prime minister stated that under the peace plan, Israel's sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and other strategically vital parts of Judea and Samaria would be recognized.
In addition, all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria would also be recognized as under Israeli sovereignty, including Biblical cities such as Hevron and Shiloh.
Netanyahu called Trump the greatest friend Israel has ever had in the White House, adding that "it's not even close."
He said that the 'Deal of the Century' "addresses the root cause of the conflict by insisting that the Palestinians will finally have to recognize Israel as the Jewish State."
Netanyahu said that if the Palestinian Authority "are genuine prepared to make peace with the Jewish State," then Israel "would be prepared to negotiate peace right away."
He agreed to "maintain the status quo" in areas not designated as part of Israel under the plan for four years, while applying sovereignty in the rest of the land.
Turning to Trump, Netanyahu said: "Like you, Mr President, I understand the magnitude of this moment. With you, Mr. President, I am prepared to seize the moment and change history."
"Mr. President, your Deal of the Century is the opportunity of the century, and rest assured, Israel will not miss this opportunity."