Trump meets with Netanyahu as Israeli military strikes targets along Gaza Strip

As President Trump welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House Monday, Israel Defense Forces announced they have begun striking Hamas targets along the Gaza Strip after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a residence in Israel. Mr. Trump is signing a proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights, which Israel captured in 1967.

Netanyahu was supposed to have a state dinner at the White House Tuesday and address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), but cut his visit short after the residential rocket hit, building on already sky-high tensions in the region.

“The despicable attack this morning demonstrates the significant security challenges that Israel faces every single day,” Mr. Trump said alongside Netanyahu at the White House. “And today I am taking historic action to promote Israel’s ability to defend itself.”

Netanyahu praised Israel’s relationship with the U.S., saying Israel has never found a stronger friendship than it does now in Mr. Trump. He also condemned the rocket striking the Israeli residence, and said Israel will always defend itself.

“Israel will not tolerate this. I will not tolerate this,” Netanyahu said.

“We will do whatever we must do to defend our people and defend our state,” the prime minister continued.

The visit is a high-profile visit for the embattled prime minister, who is facing a slew of corruption charges as he stands for re-election next month. The visit with the president showcases the strong ties between the U.S. and Israel as well as the warm relationship Netanyahu shares with Mr. Trump.

Last week, Mr. Trump gave Netanyahu another boost with his tweet asserting that Israel should have full sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War. Peace talks between Syria and Israel have continued on and off since Israel unilaterally annexed the area in 1981, a move which was not recognized internationally.

The visit also comes a day after the attorney general released a summary of findings by special counsel Robert Mueller in his Russia investigation into collusion and obstruction of justice. Mueller concluded that the Trump campaign did not conspire or coordinate with the Russian government in its attempts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, but his office did not reach a conclusion on whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice. On this matter, Mueller stated that, “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Mr. Trump welcomed the report and declared himself completely exonerated. “Complete and total exoneration,” he told reporters as he left Florida for Washington Sunday. “It’s a shame that our country had to go through it,” Mr. Trump said, adding that he hoped there would be an investigation “into the other side.”

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