Netanyahu Warns of Price for Trump Support

YERUSHALAYIM -
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu leads a Likud party meeting at the Knesset on Monday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu treated his Likud faction to a dose of realism on Monday, warning that Trump administration support for Israel will not be the utopia that some had thought.

Mr. Netanyahu told the Likud gathering that as friendly as the new president is, he has not written a “blank check” for Israel to do as it wishes . After Mr. Trump was elected, there were calls on the right for immediate annexation of parts of Yehudah and Shomron and unrestrained building in the region.

“We are a sovereign country, we can decide on many things and declare many things, but as far as the consent of the Americans goes I would not go that far.”

“It is true that there are warm relations and there is a lot of understanding for our basic positions, but it is not true that we have a blank check, and that is far from the reality,” he reportedly said in the closed-door meeting in the Knesset.

Mr. Netanyahu mentioned the 75 million dollar supplement to this year’s military aid from the U.S. announced last week, but said such generosity should not be misconstrued.

“The public should know that we received last week 75 million dollars from the Trump administration but know that there is no such thing as innocent gifts,” and that Israel was expected to show flexibility in peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, U.S.-Israeli friendship continued to flourish, as the Congress and the Knesset planned a joint broadcast to mark the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Yerushalayim on Tuesday.

Either President Trump or Vice President Mike Pence will participate on video link from Washington, along with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and on the Israeli side Prime Minister Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, according to The Jerusalem Post. All members of the Knesset and both houses of Congress have been invited to join the broadcast, which was organized by Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer.

Edelstein invited American lawmakers to send him their prayers for insertion in the Kosel.

“I will make sure your notes are placed between the sacred stones of the Western Wall,” he wrote.

So far, the Knesset has received 15 notes for the purpose.