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  1. ITV Report

Netanyahu: Common dangers turn former enemies into partners

  • Video report by ITV News Senior International Correspondent John Irvine

Israel's Prime Minister has welcomed Donald Trump to Jerusalem, telling him he hopes the "alliance between our countries will grow ever-stronger".

Having greeted the US President and his wife Melania, Benjamin Netanyahu said he looked forward to working with the US to secure Israel's future.

He also told how appreciative he is of Mr Trump's "bold decision to act against the use of chemical weapons in Syria".

Speaking on the first day of the President's two-day trip to Israel, he added: "I want you to know how much we appreciate the change in American policy on Iran, which you enunciated so clearly, just an hour ago...

"I also look forward to working closely with you to advance peace in our region - because you have noted so succinctly that common dangers are turning former enemies into partners."

Mr Trump replied, saying: "We are more than friends. We are allies. We have so many opportunities in front of us."

Some Israeli ministers had reportedly considered skipping the welcome ceremony Credit: AP

Israel is the second destination on his five-stop Middle East trip.

He landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, where he was greeted by Mr Netanyahu and members of the Israeli cabinet, Monday morning.

Mr Netanyahu reportedly had to order ministers to attend the welcome ceremony at the airport, according to Israel's Haaretz newspaper, after he discovered a number were planning to skip the event.

Nonetheless, the arrival began with a lighthearted moment. As Mr Trump shook hands with Mr Netanyahu he asked, "What is the protocol?"

Throwing up his hands, Mr Netanyahu replied: "Who knows?"

Later, in his formal welcome to the US president, Mr Netanyah said he hoped Mr Trump's visit would be a "historic milestone" in achieving regional peace.

Mr Trump addressed the welcome party Credit: AP

While Mr Trump has said previously that finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is "maybe not as difficult as people have thought", few expect a breakthrough with this visit.

White House aides have tried to play down expectations, casting the trip as more symbolic than substantive.

Mr Trump's visit takes in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall, an important Jewish holy site, as part of his trip.

He will also meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem on Tuesday.

Mr Trump's visit takes in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre Credit: AP

Mr Trump arrives in Israel from a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where he called upon Middle Eastern leaders to combat a "crisis of Islamic extremism" originating from the region.

He also praised the Muslim world's history and culture, and declared Islam "one of the world's great faiths".

That has been seen as something of a reset with the region following his presidential campaign, which was frequently punctured by bouts of anti-Islamic rhetoric.