Watch: President Trump delivers remarks at Israel Museum

Posted at 7:22 AM, May 23, 2017

President Donald Trump said Tuesday in a speech here capping off his visit to Israel and the West Bank that he believes both Israelis and Palestinian leaders “are ready to reach for peace.”

“The Palestinians are ready to reach for peace. I know you’ve heard it before. I am telling you, that’s what I do. They are ready to reach for peace,” Trump said. “And my meeting with my very good friend Benjamin. I can tell you also that he is reaching for peace … Benjamin Netanyahu wants peace.”

Trump delivered those remarks in a speech at the Israel Museum following his meetings on Monday and Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Trump has struck an increasingly optimistic tone on the prospects for peace in recent days, insisting that he is sensing a shift in the region that could draw Arab countries closer to Israel and create more favorable conditions for peace.

But while Trump said earlier this month that he believed brokering peace is “maybe not as difficult as people have thought,” he measured his comments on Tuesday.

“Making peace, however, will not be easy. We all know that. Both sides will face tough decisions. But with determination, compromise and the belief that peace is possible, Israelis and Palestinians can make a deal,” Trump said.

In separate remarks on Tuesday, both Netanyahu and Abbas said they believed the time was ripe for peace, pointing to the initiative Trump has taken to facilitate a revival of peace talks — though both pointed the finger at the other side in describing the obstacles to peace.

“President Trump, working with you, I believe we can advance a global peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors as well as the Palestinians,” Netanyahu said.