Netanyahu: Whoever Wins, Israel-U.S. Relations Will Prosper

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday. (Ohad Zwigenberg/Pool)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday. (Ohad Zwigenberg/Pool)

Although like the rest of the world, Israel has a strong interest in the results of this week’s presidential elections in the United States, it would be out of the question for the government to say which candidate it prefers – but whichever candidate is elected, relations between Israel and the United States will remain strong, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at Sunday’s cabinet meeting. “I am convinced that relations will remain strong and firm – not just remain at the same level, but grow stronger and firmer.”

Netanyahu also expects either Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to continue America’s long-standing policy – which coincides with Israel’s – that direct negotiations are the only way to solve the Israel-Palestinian dispute. “The United States, I am sure, will remain loyal to the principle that the dispute can be resolved only by direct negotiations without preconditions, and of course not by resolutions at the U.N. or other international institutions.”

Israel opposes foreign initiatives to pressure it into concessions and accuses the U.N. of an anti-Israel bias.

Israel was most recently outraged by a UNESCO World Heritage Committee resolution that it said ignored Judaism’s deep ties to Har HaBayis.

During the meeting, Netanyahu discussed Israel’s burgeoning diplomatic portfolio. “Last week I met with the head of the NRDC, China’s most important economic institution, and held very positive talks,” Netanyahu told ministers at the meeting. “These talks reflected Israel’s relationship with this government, which is very important to Israel. This week, Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev will visit, and we will hold talks regarding our bilateral relations. A week later, President Reuven Rivlin will travel to India, in order to further cement relations with that important country. These meetings reflect Israel’s growing position on the international front, based on our special capabilities in the realms of defense, economy and technology. We also have excellent relations with many countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and other places in the world.”

With that, Israel’s most important relationship remains the one that will choose a new leader this week. “I wish to stress that our relationship with the U.S. is the strongest one, the most important one,” Netanyahu said. “It is the most basic of our relationships with the nations of the world, and it will remain so.”