The full text of the on-camera talks between US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the White House before the signing of the Abraham Accords, September 15, 2020.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: (A ceremonial gold key is presented.) This was a special token of affection, given by myself and the First Lady to the Prime Minister and the First Lady of Israel. And it’s a key — we call it a key to the White House. And it’s a key to our country and to our hearts. And you’ve been an amazing leader for a long period of time. And this is — this is, in many respects, the big day, because this is something that’s very special.
We just left UAE and Bahrain. We’re going to meet outside in a ceremony. And it’s just a very important event. And it’s an honor to have you with us, Bibi. Thank you very much.
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Thank you, Mr. President. And I have said — and this is true — that you have the key to the hearts of the people of Israel because of all the great things you’ve done for the Jewish State and the Jewish people. So, thank you. Thank you.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. Fantastic. And we look forward to being outside.
Q Mr. President —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes, please. Anybody?
Q Mr. President, this is a great event — this is a great event and these are tremendous achievements. Can you — we know that Israel is getting a lot. What is Israel giving back for this —
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: This is the Israeli press that wants to chip away at this.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I think what, really, Israel is getting — I think what Israel is getting and what we’re all getting, but what Israel is getting more than anything else is peace. They’re going to have peace. As you know, UAE — United Arab Emirates — is a great warring nation, a very powerful nation in the region. And they very much wanted to do this. Mohammed is a tremendous leader, like Bibi is a tremendous leader. And it was important to have them first very early.
And, you know, the relationship is fantastic. And a lot of people are surprised to see it. And, as you know, we have Bahrain and we have many nations ready to follow. Many nations.
Q Is Saudi Arabia going to be next?
Q Can you name them?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I can’t — no, not now, I won’t. But you’ll see. We’ll be signing up other nations. And these are very strong agreements. These are very strong. This is really peace. This is serious peace. And so I think what Israel gets — the most important thing that they’re getting, by far, is peace.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Excuse me, one at a time, please.
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Pick the other one.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Who? Which one?
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: See the woman in the white? The woman in the white.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: In the white. Go ahead.
Q Yes. Thank you. Lital from Channel 20. Is it possible to know which countries will be following the Emirates?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we’ll be announce- —
Q Will it be Saudi? Maybe Oman?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah, we’re very far down the road with about five countries, five additional countries. Frankly, I think we could have had them here today. We thought, out of respect, UAE — they deserved it. And Bahrain came immediately after. They really wanted to do it. But we’ll have at least five or six countries coming along very quickly, and we’re already talking to them.
And they want to see peace. You know, they’ve been fighting for a long time. They’re tired. They’re warring countries, but they’re tired. They’re tired of fighting. And so you’re going to be seeing further announcements.
This is a — you know, it’s a very big day. I guess they said — so there were two countries, over a 72-year period, and we did an additional two. And these are great countries. We did an additional two in one month.
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Twenty-nine days.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: But you’ll — but you’re going to see — you’re going to see a lot of very great activity. It’s going to be peace in the Middle East.
Q Mr. President, will you promote the F-35 deal even if Israel objected?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Say it?
Q Will you promote the F-35 deal even if Israel objected?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah, we going — we’re going to work that out. We’ll work that out. That’s — that’s going to be an easy thing.
And, you know, we’ve fought with UAE four times — four different wars. They’ve been very, very loyal to us. And we have a better relationship with them now than we ever had in the past. In fact, in the past, it was very strained. We have a very good relationship with them. Yeah, we’ll — all of that works out. That’s going to be very easy to work out.
Q Mr. President, should Israel feel less isolated today than they were this last week? And, Mr. Prime Minister, maybe you can answer that question, as well.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I think Israel is not isolated anymore because, I can tell you, we have the two countries, plus you had an additional two, as you know, from many, many years ago. And now you have a situation where many of the countries — and I can actually say “most” of the countries, but many of the countries in the Middle East want to sign this deal.
And I think when that happens, hopefully after the election — because I really believe Iran wants to make a deal. They’ve had a very tough time. Their GDP is down 27 percent because of the sanctions and all of the other things. And I don’t want that to happen. I don’t want — I want Iran to be a great country, a great nation. I think that would be a wonderful thing.
But I think — and I’ve even said that. I’ve said that the representatives of them: “You should wait to see the election, first.” There is nothing they or China or, probably, Russia would like better than to have Sleepy Joe Biden become the President, because if Sleepy Joe won, they would own the United States, all of them. China would own the United States.
So I told all of them, I said, “Wait until after the election.” But after the election, we have to make a better deal. I do say that. We’re going to make a better deal than we would have.
But, with Iran, they certainly should wait until after the election because, frankly, if Biden wins, they’ll make a much better deal. But I’m going to make a good deal with Iran. I’m going to make a deal that’s great for Iran. It’s going to get them back. We’re going to help them in every way possible. And Iran will be very happy. Iran will be very rich and very quickly. But I think they should wait until after the election. You understand what I mean by that. Because a dream for those countries would be Sleepy Joe.
Q Do you believe you will also broker a deal with the Palestinians?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah, I think they’d come along, and they’re already — obviously, we speak to them. They’ve come a long way. We used to pay them $750 million a year when I got here.
And I said to people that negotiated with them before, “Why did you pay when they treat the United States with such disrespect?” They speak so badly. “Death to America. Death to Israel.” I said, “We give them $750 million a year.” I said, “Why didn’t somebody cut off those payments?” “Well, we didn’t think it would be appropriate.” I said, “Well, I do.” And I cut off the payments to them, as you know.
But other countries give them money. You’re dealing with very rich countries. And these countries are now all signing with us. They’re all be signed with us — all of them.
I spoke with the King of Saudi Arabia. We had a great conversation, and I think positive things will happen there, too. He’s a great gentleman. And the Crown Prince — we spoke with the Crown Prince.
So we’ve made tremendous strides. And this is peace in the Middle East without blood all over the sand. I say it: Right now, it’s been blood all over the sand for — for decades and decades and decades. That’s all they do, is they fight and kill people, and nobody gets anything.
And this is — this is strong peace, really strong peace, far — and it’s a different way. We went in the back door, but I call it going in the very smart door. We went in the smart door, and we’re getting people. And the Palestinians will absolutely be a member. I don’t say that with any bravado. I just tell you the Palestinians will be a member at the right time. At the right time.
Q Will they have a state of their selves in your peace?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’re — we’re working a deal. We’re talking — we are talking to the Palestinians. At the right time, they’ll be joining, too.
Q And as long as you’re President, is annexation off the table? Is that something the Emirates know?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We don’t want to talk about that right now, but that’s working out very well and very fair and very good for the people that are coming in and for Israel.
And again, Israel wants peace, and they’re a great warring nation if they have to be. You see that. They have the best equipment; they have the best of everything, but they don’t want this. After all of these years, even Bibi gets tired of war. (Laughter.)
But they’ve been, you know — look, they’re a strong nation, a strong power, a strong military nation, but they want to get on with their lives. Israel wants peace. They really want peace. And I give this gentleman a great deal of credit. He’s done a great job.
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Thank you. Mr. President, I heard a question from one of the people here: “Does Israel feel isolated?” Heck no. We’re breaking out to the entire world because we have a strong, free economy, because we have a strong military, and because we have a strong relationship with the President of the United States and the American people.
And I can tell you that we have a strong relationship throughout the Middle East. The President intimated how many countries are waiting to join the circle of peace. You know, Israel doesn’t feel isolated at all. It’s enjoying the greatest diplomatic triumph of its history.
I think the people who feel isolated are the tyrants of Tehran because of the pressure that the President has applied on them, because of the resistance to this bad Iran deal. They are under pressure. And, you know, I hope they’ll all come around. I hope everyone will come around to the circle of peace.
But, no, we don’t feel isolated at all; quite the contrary.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I would say this: There’s less isolation right now for Israel than there’s ever been. I mean, today, they would be less isolated than ever been.
I want to just thank your great Ambassador. Ron, thank you very much.
AMBASSADOR DERMER: Thank you.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: How do you feel about isolation? I think you’re starting to see the light, huh?
AMBASSADOR DERMER: I can imagine what will happen when everyone is courting Israel, if this is what isolation looks like. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah. No, it’s good. We — we love Israel. And I’ll tell you what: I have great respect for the countries that have stepped up so beautifully. And you’re going to see that in a little while. We’re having a ceremony.
And thank you all for being here. Thank you very much.