President Donald Trump spoke Sunday by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about ways to strengthen relations between their two countries and “threats posed by Iran,” according to the White House.
Mr. Netanyahu’s office described the conversation as “very warm” and Mr. Trump invited the prime minister to come to Washington to meet sometime in February. Relations between Israel and the U.S. grew strained under former President Barack Obama and his administration abstained from a United Nations resolution in December that declared settlement construction in East Jerusalem and in the West Bank illegal.
“The President and the Prime Minister agreed to continue to closely consult on a range of regional issues, including addressing the threats posed by Iran,” the White House said after Sunday’s call. “The President affirmed his unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security and stressed that countering ISIL and other radical Islamic terrorist groups will be a priority for his Administration,” it said, referring to Islamic State.
Mr. Trump also emphasized that peace could only be negotiated directly between Israelis and Palestinians, the White House said. That remark came after attempts earlier this month by France and the international community to convene a peace conference on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.