Netanyahu: US-Israel alliance ‘has become even stronger’

Netanyahu said there will be enhanced bilateral cooperation in many areas, including Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during his weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday that the US-Israel relationship has been enhanced since his meeting last week with President Donald Trump.

“The alliance between Israel and the US has always been steadfast, but, I said, I told them there and also here in Jerusalem, this alliance has become even stronger,” said Netanyahu.

Netanyahu said that the relationship has been boosted in large part because of his already-established close friendship with Trump. It was close enough for Trump to endorse Netanyahu for prime minister in Israel’s 2013 parliamentary elections.

“There is a personal connection of many years between President Trump and myself, and it is important,” Netanyahu noted.

“I must point out that at the end of the meeting with the president, he shook my hand and defined relations between Israel and the US as ‘a new day,'” the prime minister continued.  “I must tell you that there is a new day here, and it is a good day.”

A few weeks ago, Trump told Fox News commentator Sean Hannity that the US-Israel relationship was repaired “as soon as I took the oath” of President of the United States.

Seeing ‘Eye to Eye’ on Iran

Common ground on security matters in the Middle East, particularly concerning Iran, contributed to the strengthening of the US-Israel relationship, Netanyahu said at the cabinet meeting.

“The two of us see eye to eye on the main and growing threat from Iran and the need to stand against Iranian aggression in the various spheres,” Netanyahu added. “We also see the possibility of trying to provide a basis for the growing regional interests that are forming between Israel, the US and countries of the region both to rebuff Iran and to develop other opportunities and normalization.”

During his joint press conference with Trump last Wednesday, Netanyahu remarked on the opportunity to pursue a regional approach in solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

“I believe that the great opportunity for peace comes from a regional approach…involving our newfound Arab partners in the pursuit of a broader peace and peace with the Palestinians,” Netanyahu said.

During the press conference, Trump gave all the appearances of endorsing such an approach. “I think it’s a terrific thing and I think we have some pretty good cooperation from people that in the past would never, ever have even thought about doing this,” the president said.

At Sunday’s cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu discussed the increased bilateral cooperation. “We agreed to create joint teams to upgrade relations between Israel and the US in all of the main areas of security, intelligence, cyber, technology, economics and many others,” he said.

US-Israel Coordination on ‘Settlements’

“We also agreed to create a team in an area that we have not previously agreed on: I mean, of course, on settlement in Judea and Samaria,” Netanyahu told the meeting.

Although the Trump administration has not condemned the construction, the president asked Israel “to hold back on settlements for a little bit” during the joint press conference.

Several weeks ago, Netanyahu called upon members of his coalition to avoid introducing legislation that would formally incorporate regions of Judea and Samaria into the rest of Israel and to allow him to take the lead on the matter while coordinating with the Trump administration.

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News