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Trump calls for Israel-Arab coalition against terrorism, extremism

Updated: 05 24 , 2017 14:22
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JERUSALEM, May 23 -- In a strong pro-Israeli speech on Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump called on to form a regional coalition of Israel and Arab nations against "terrorism" and "extremism."

In the final remarks at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, which concluded his first visit to the region, Trump asserted that a struggle against Iran and the Islamic State (IS) should be a shared interest of all nations in the Middle East.

Trump said that he arrived in Israel directly from Saudi Arabia, where his meetings with King Salman and Arab leaders inspired him with hopes. There are "new opportunity" for nations in the region to end sectarian strife and find peace, he said.

"Change must come from within," he said, adding that parents must not let their kids become extremists.

"They are not born with prejudices," he said.

"I call upon people to draw inspiration from this ancient to set aside out sectarian difference to overcome oppression and hatred," he said.

He said that a prerequisite for a regional coalition would be to recognize Israel's positive contribution "to the region and the world" in culture, business, innovation and other fields.

He said that Israelis had experienced terror, adding that IS have threatened Jewish institutions.

He vowed that he will not let Iran achieve nuclear weapons and that the United States will always stand by Israel to defend it from Iran and other alleged threats. "Iran calls for the destruction of Israel. Not with Donald J. Trump," he said to a standing applause.

Trump stated the Jewish people have a historical stake in the land of Israel. "The ties of the Jewish people to this holy land are ancient and eternal," he said, again, to a standing ovation.

"They date back thousands of years, including the reign of King David, whose star now flies proudly on Israelis' white and blue flag," he added.

Trump expressed optimism about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "I had a meeting this morning with (Palestinian) President Abbas and can tell you that the Palestinians are ready to reach for peace," he said.

"I know you've heard it before, I am telling you, that's what I do, that they are ready to reach for peace," he said.

He personally addressed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said that after meeting with "my very good friend, Benjamin," he can say that Netanyahu "is reaching for peace" too.

"He loves peace, he loves people, he especially loves the Israeli people," said Trump. "Making peace will not be easy. But with determination, compromise, and the belief that peace is possible, Israelis and Palestinians can make a deal," he said.

Trump arrived in Israel on Monday for meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders after visiting Saudi Arabia and before continuing to the Vatican to meet Pope Francis.

He said his visit was aimed at reaffirming "the unshakeable bond between the United States and Israel" and to push forward his effort to revive the long-stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

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