Sun | Jul 22, 2018

Clinton, Trump meet separately with Israel PM

Published:Monday | September 26, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are meeting separately with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday in sessions that could set the tone for relations between the allied countries during the next presidential administration.

Trump met Sunday with Netanyahu for over an hour at his residence in Trump Tower in Manhattan, according to Israeli and campaign officials. Clinton also was expected to meet with the prime minister in New York on the eve of the first debate between the candidates. The Israeli leader has sought to project neutrality this time after perceptions arose that he favoured Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama in 2012.

The press was barred from covering the meeting between Netanyahu and Trump, but Trump's campaign said in a statement that the men, who have known each other for years, discussed "many topics important to both countries", including "the special relationship between America and Israel and the unbreakable bond between the two countries."

Among those topics were: the nuclear deal with Iran, the battle against Islamic State militants, military assistance provided by the US to Israel and other security issues.

"Trump recognised that Israel and its citizens have suffered far too long on the front lines of Islamic terrorism," the campaign said in a statement. "He agreed with Prime Minister Netanyahu that the Israeli people want a just and lasting peace with their neighbours, but that peace will only come when the Palestinians renounce hatred and violence and accept Israel as a Jewish State."

Trump also repeated his pledge to move the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv if he's elected to the White House.

"Mr Trump acknowledged that Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish people for over 3,000 years, and that the United States, under a Trump administration, will finally accept the long-standing Congressional mandate to recognise Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel," the campaign said.




That promise has been made in various forms since, at least, 1992. Congress, three years later, passed a law calling for the US embassy to be moved to Jerusalem by 1999, but presidents of both parties always have waived the requirement. George W. Bush promised in 2000 to start the move "as soon as I take office", then didn't.

The pair also discussed, "at length", Israel's use of a security fence to help secure its borders. Trump has proposed building a wall along the length of the southern border to keep out people and illegal drugs and often points to Israel as an example of how such barricades can be successful.