Thursday, 05 December, 2019


Trump sees tight race between 'two good people' for Israel PM

Conservatives have cherry-picked four words from her speech and twisted them wildly out of context to suggest Omar was downplaying the 9/11 attacks Trump sees tight race between 'two good people' for Israel PM
Bennie Garza | 07 April, 2019, 16:55

President Donald Trump gave a speech on Saturday to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas, Nevada, during which he referred to Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "your prime minister" to the group.

Netanyahu, asked why he had not declared Israeli sovereignty over large West Bank settlements as Israel has already done in the occupied Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, said he was already discussing the move.

"We don't love the fact that he's got tattoos on his face, that's not a good sign", Trump said.

In an interview broadcast Friday, Netanyahu said he told U.S. President Donald Trump he would not remove settlements or people as part of a future American peace plan.

Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, as well as Putin's help in returning the remains of an Israeli soldier missing since the 1982 Lebanon war, have played in his favour.

But Mr Netanyahu, who has fought the election campaign under the shadow of corruption allegations, is also competing for votes with far-right parties who advocate annexation.

A further 200,000 Israelis live in settlements in occupied east Jerusalem, over which Israel has already implemented full sovereignty.

Roughly 2.8 million Palestinians live in the West Bank under the control of the Israeli military, and some 400,000 Israelis live in the territory in settlements which are illegal under worldwide law - as would be their annexation by Israel, since the territory was acquired by war.

US officials have said they will unveil a long-awaited Trump administration Middle East peace plan after the Israeli election, but prospects to restart negotiations appear dim.

Settlements are one of the most heated issues in efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, frozen since 2014. Israel disputes this, citing security needs and biblical, historical and political connections to the land. The West Bank is under Israeli military jurisdiction, although settlers are subject to civilian law, as Israeli citizens. At their March 25 meeting, Trump signed a proclamation officially granting USA recognition of the Golan as Israeli territory, a dramatic departure from decades of US policy.

Trump also called the asylum program "a scam", alleging that lawyers coach tough, violent men through the process.

United States officials have said they would unveil a long-awaited Trump administration Middle East peace plan after the Israeli election, but prospects to restart negotiations appear dim.

Saeb Erekat, Secretary General of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said Netanyahu's statement was "not surprising".

Jewish voters in the USA have traditionally sided heavily with Democrats, but Republicans are hoping to narrow the gap next year, in part as Trump cites actions that he says show he's more pro-Israel.

Netanyahu did not say whether he would seek to annex areas now under Palestinian control under the Oslo Accords.

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