On his way to Texas aboard Air Force One, US President Donald Trump telephoned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his record fifth term victory in the Israeli elections last week.
Netanyahu reported that Trump called him from the president’s jet. “Trump warmly congratulated me and the Israeli people,” Netanyahu tweeted. “I thanked President Trump for his tremendous support for Israel, including recognition of Jerusalem and the Golan,” he said. Netanyahu also thanked Trump for designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization and said that he was extremely grateful for Trump’s “tremendous support for Israel.”
Trump congratulated Netanyahu on “a great and hard-fought win,” in a later Twitter exchange between the two allies. “The United States is with him (Netanyahu) and the People of Israel all the way!” he said.
Commenting to reporters at the White House, Trump said that Netanyahu’s re-election improved the chances of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. “Everybody says you can’t have peace in the Middle East, with Israel and the Palestinians. I think we have a chance. I think we have now a better chance with Bibi having won,” he said.
Snubbing all previous US and international policy in the region, the Trump administration has gone to great lengths to show unprecedented support for Israel. Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017 and moved the US Embassy to the city last May. Last month, he declared that the Golan Heights, the mountainous region captured from Syria in 1967, belongs to Israel. More recently, the Trump administration expressed a willingness to back Netanyahu’s declaration that if he won the election, he would annex Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria.
The Palestinians have been demanding a state that includes all the territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, including the biblical heartlands in Judea and Samaria, East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, and the Gaza Strip. In the current political atmosphere, Palestinian demands for Israel to leave these territories sound outlandish, almost a joke.
Recent reports are now even saying that the Trump administration’s “Deal of the Century” will not include any path to Palestinian statehood, let alone handing over lands where Jews have built settlements and even cities on their Promised Biblical Lands.
Netanyahu and Trump’s friendship has become a pipeline of political expediency for both leaders. Trump can’t seem to say enough in his praise of Bibi and support of Israel. In an appeal to voters during his re-election campaign, Netanyahu’s campaign displayed huge billboards around the country of the two leaders shaking hands and smiling.