US President Donald Trump has indicated that he might attend the inauguration of the new American embassy in Jerusalem as he reaffirmed his country's support to Israel's security during his talks with embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The talks also touched on Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinians, Netanyahu said, while the White House said Trump had "emphasized his commitment to achieving a lasting peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians".
Netanyahu's visit to the United States includes a meeting in the White House with Trump, where he plans to reiterate his objection to the nuclear deal with Iran.
"I have been here for almost four decades. talking, seeking to build the American-Israeli alliance", Netanyahu said, referring to his long career in Israeli politics. Mired in corruption investigations threatening his political survival, Netanyahu - questioned at his home by police on Friday - stepped into a different spotlight during his five-day US visit.
Israeli police say they have enough evidence to indict Netanyahu on bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two cases, and the attorney general there is deciding whether to file charges, a process that could take months.
Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December and announced that the U.S. embassy would move to the city in May, shortly after Israel's 70th anniversary.
"Because the Arabs have never been closer to Israel", he said, and "Israel has never been closer to the Arabs".
Trump said he was looking into the possibility of traveling to Jerusalem in mid-May, when the embassy is slated to move into a temporary location that now is an annex of the US consulate. The White House meeting with Trump provides a welcome diversion for Netanyahu and a chance to shore up his base, which remains firmly behind him. "But we're going to have it built very quickly and very inexpensively", he said.
Trump and Netanyahu also discussed Iran, with the Israeli prime minister declaring, "Iran must be stopped". We're working on it very hard.
Such a visit would risk pouring gasoline on an already enflamed situation and curb the United States claims to be an independent broker in the peace process.
When Trump announced his Jerusalem decision, he argued that, contrary to conventional thinking, the move would make "the ultimate deal" - a peace plan between Palestinians and Israelis - more likely by taking an issue on which Israel would not budge off the table. "And we remember how a few weeks ago, President Donald J. Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital". It's his fifth with Trump since the USA president took office a year ago.
The Associated Press reported that on Monday, a close confidant of Netanyahu agreed to turn state's witness in one of the cases, adding to the pressure already on him. Netanyahu said he has made his position clear. In this case, the Netanyahus allegedly received positive coverage in the Walla news site in exchange for giving regulatory and financial benefits to Bezeq, a giant telecom company whose owner also holds Walla.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended policies that sometimes drew dissent from American Jews, saying Israel's national security interests were paramount. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing.
On Friday, Netanyahu was questioned by Israeli detectives about his role in a case involving Nir Hefetz, the man Israeli media refer to as Netanyahu's "spin doctor".
Nikky Haley, the USA envoy to the United Nations, got sustained applause at the annual conference of the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobby group, when she announced she would attend the inauguration.
ESTRIN: He's talking to the pro-Israel group AIPAC tomorrow morning. Both are among the Trump advisers who are deeply skeptical about the Iran nuclear agreement, which Trump has threatened to abandon in May.