October 18, 2018

In phone call with Netanyahu, Trump affirms ‘unprecedented’ support for Israel

USA and Israel Credit : Jpost

Trump invited the Israeli leader to visit the White House in February after ‘very warm’ first talk .During a telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, newly minted US President Donald Trump affirmed his “unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security,” committing to working closely with Israel to achieve peace with the Palestinians, as well as on “a range of regional issues” including Iran. This article was written and published by i24

The conversation was the first between the US and Israeli leaders since Trump took office on January 20th.

The two leaders discussed ways “to advance and strengthen the U.S.-Israel special relationship, and security and stability in the Middle East,” according to a White House press release, with Trump emphasizing the importance the US places on its “close military, intelligence, and security cooperation with Israel, which reflects the deep and abiding partnership between our countries.”

During the conversation, which Trump afterwards described as “very nice”, the President invited Netanyahu to meet with him at the White House in “early February.” It is understood the final dates will be settled in the coming days between the leaders’ offices.

Trump, who during the call placed combating “radical Islamic terrorist groups” squarely at the forefront of his administration’s agenda, said he would “continue to closely consult [with Israel] on a range of regional issues, including addressing the threats posed by Iran.”

Sources close to Netanyahu described the tone of the conversation as “very warm” and said the leader expressed his will to work together with Trump based on a “mutual vision of advancing peace and security in the region,” with “no daylight between Jerusalem and Washington.”

GPO
GPO “Then-Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Trump Towers in New York City, September 25, 2016”

GPO
“Then-Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Trump Towers in New York City, September 25, 2016”

The United States is Israel’s most important ally, providing it with more than $3 billion per year in defense aid.

Trump, who has expressed confidence that his administration will be able to broker a deal to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said that “peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be negotiated directly between the two parties,” adding that “the United States will work closely with Israel to make progress towards that goal.”

Trump dodged a reporter’s question on moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem after the call, with the White House saying earlier in the day that the administration was “at the very beginning stages of even discussing” the subject.

The the billionaire businessman turned president pledged strong support for Israel during his campaign, vowing to move the embassy and recognize Jerusalem as the country’s capital despite the city’s contested status.

The status of Jerusalem is a flashpoint issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, while Israel has declared the entire city as its capital. Many believe that the relocation of the embassy could sink the peace process and inflame tensions.

The conversation came hours after Netanyahu promised to lift restrictions on construction in East Jerusalem and the approval of over 500 new settler homes in the disputed area.

The UN Security Council adopted a landmark resolution last month demanding that Israel halt settlement building in Palestinian territories, which was passed by a 14-0 vote after the United States refused to wield its veto power in support of Israel.

Netanyahu had accused his long-time political rival Barack Obama, the now-former US president, of orchestrating the UN vote. Trump called for the resolution to be vetoed.

Repost from I24 : http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/diplomacy-defense/135746-170122-mum-on-jerusalem-embassy-move-trump-says-netanyahu-call-was-very-nice

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