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January 23, 2017 1:15 pm

Netanyahu Welcomes Trump’s ‘Change of Approach’ to US-Israel Relationship

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Screenshot.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Screenshot.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday revealed further details of his self-described “very warm” 30-minute telephone conversation with new US President Donald Trump the previous day.

Speaking at a Likud faction meeting, Netanyahu said the call reflected the “depth” of his longstanding relationship with Trump.

“I congratulated him on his [inauguration] and thanked him for his unequivocal and resolute support of the state of Israel,” Netanyahu told Likud lawmakers.

“President Trump believes peace will be achieved only through direct negotiations,” the prime minister went on to say. “Does that sound familiar to you? He noted he has an unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security and the war against radical Islamic terrorism. Does that also sound familiar to you?”

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“[Trump] spoke with me at length about the threat posed by Iran,” Netanyahu continued. “He also thinks that the nuclear agreement with Iran is a bad deal. That certainly must ring a bell.”

Regarding Trump’s invitation to Netanyahu to visit the White House next month, the prime minister said, “I attach great importance to this meeting,” adding that it would “further strengthen the personal trust” between himself and Trump.

“After eight years in which I withstood enormous pressure on various issues, primarily Iran and the settlements, I certainly welcome the change of approach,” Netanyahu stated. “We are facing great and significant opportunities for the security and future of the state of Israel. But they demand responsibility and discretion so that we don’t squander either the moment or the opportunities. Now is not the time for knee-jerk reactions, not the time for dictates, and also not the time for surprises.”

“Now is the time for responsible, wise diplomacy with friends — diplomacy that will strengthen the coordination between us and the trust between the Israeli government and the new administration in Washington,” the prime minister said.

Trump on Sunday called his talk with Netanyahu “very nice,” and a White House statement on the call read as follows:

President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke today by phone to discuss ways to advance and strengthen the U.S.-Israel special relationship, and security and stability in the Middle East. The president emphasized the importance the United States places on our close military, intelligence, and security cooperation with Israel, which reflects the deep and abiding partnership between our countries. The president and the prime minister agreed to continue to closely consult on a range of regional issues, including addressing the threats posed by Iran. The president affirmed his unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security and stressed that countering ISIL and other radical Islamic terrorist groups will be a priority for his administration. The president emphasized that peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be negotiated directly between the two parties, and that the United States will work closely with Israel to make progress towards that goal. The president invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to an early February meeting at the White House.”

Also on Sunday, as reported by The Algemeiner, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced that the Trump administration was in the beginning stage of talks on the relocation of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Watch Netanyahu’s Monday statement (in Hebrew) below:

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