Netanyahu welcomes Japan's Abe, says Iran deal 'based on lies'

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Prior to arriving in Israel, PM Abe was in Ramallah, where he informed Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas that Japan will not move its Israeli embassy to Yerushalayim.

"Abe is thinking about nothing but North Korea and he does everything that U.S. President Donald Trump likes", a source close to the prime minister said, indicating he needed to show indirect support for Washington by serving as a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians at a time when the situation surrounding North Korea is changing at a rapid pace.

Some observers had suggested that a Middle East visit would be a risky move politically, given the heightening tensions that exist ahead of the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Abe also urged Israel to refrain from building new settlements in Palestinian territory.

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Earlier, Abe met Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in the West Bank city of Jericho and toured an agricultural park supported by Japan.

They did agree, however, that their governments should promote direct flights between Tel Aviv and Tokyo to boost tourism, investment, and business.

Netanyahu also lauded "the tremendous growth in Japanese investments in Israel and Israeli investments in Japan".

After the meeting, Abe and Netanyahu met with senior Japanese business people.

Abe told Netanyahu that Japan supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a reference to the coexistence of Israel and a future Palestinian state.

Abe thanked Netanyahu for his hospitality and invited the prime minister to make a reciprocal visit in Japan in the coming year.