JERUSALEM, May 22 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump attacked on Monday the nuclear deal with Iran, telling reporters in Israel that the Iranians should be "grateful" to the U.S. for the benefits they received.
The remarks were made during a photo opportunity before his close meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.
"We gave them wealth and prosperity and ability to continue with terror," Trump said, vowing that Iran would never achieve nuclear weapons.
Netanyahu, whose vocal opposition to the 2015 nuclear deal put him at odds with Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, thanked Trump for his stance against Iran.
He warmly welcomed Trump as a "true friend" of "Israel and the Jewish people."
Also on Monday, Trump, who previously suggested that it will be easier than seems to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, spoke about "rare opportunity" to bring peace to the war-torn Middle East.
Trump, who arrived directly from Saudi Arabia, also said Israel has a "common cause" with Muslim nations to counter the "threat posed by Iran."
His first trip abroad started with a stop in Saudi Arabia, where he urged Arab leaders to struggle against extremism. His two-day tour in Israel and the West Bank is aimed at restarting the long-stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which reached an impasse in 2014 over Israel's expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Israel occupied the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East war and has held these lands ever since, despite international criticism.
Wearing a yarmulke, Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray in East Jerusalem, which Israel claims part of its "indivisible capital."
The Western Wall sparked controversy ahead of Trump's arrival when U.S. officials declined to allow Netanyahu to join Trump's visit to the site, asserting it is not located in Israeli territory.
On Monday, the police put the alleys of the Old City under lockdown, temporarily asking an undisclosed number of Palestinian residents and shop owners to evacuate their homes and shops.
On Tuesday, Trump is expected to travel to Bethlehem to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas before coming back to Jerusalem for a speech to conclude his visit.