President Trump insisted there is “no reason” Israel doesn’t have peace with the Palestinians and pointedly refused to discuss moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
Trump is considering a visit to Israel soon after a White House visit in February by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is due to meet Trump next Wednesday in Washington.
Trump has also asked Israel to put unspecified limits on its building of Jewish settlements on land the Palestinians want for a state, and has promised to seek a Middle East peace deal that eluded his predecessors. However, he has offered no new diplomatic prescriptions.
“I want to see peace with Israel and the Palestinians,” he said. “There is no reason there’s not peace between Israel and the Palestinians - none whatsoever.”
Trump brushed aside a question of whether he might use a possible trip to Israel to declare U.S. recognition of the entire city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a reversal of longstanding U.S. foreign policy likely to draw international condemnation.
“Ask me in a month on that,” he said, without elaborating.
Israel claims all of Jerusalem, which contains sites sacred to the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths, as its capital. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state of their own.