Trump: Stay Strong Israel, January 20th Is Fast Approaching

President-elect Trump says he's doing his 'best to disregard' what he called Obama's inflammatory statements hours before Kerry expected to give key speech on Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Netanyahu: 'Thank you for your warm friendship.'

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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This file photo taken on November 15, 2016 shows  a placard reading "Trump Make Israel Great Again" in Tel Aviv.
This file photo taken on November 15, 2016 shows a placard reading "Trump Make Israel Great Again" in Tel Aviv.Credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

President-elect Donald Trump said that the U.S. "cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect" hours before Secretary of State John Kerry was set to give a speech on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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"They used to have a great friend in the U.S., but....... not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this (U.N.)! Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!" Trump tweeted.

In the tweet, he said he was doing his best "to disregard" what he called "the many inflammatory" statements and roadblocks being set up by President Obama. "Thought it was going to be a smooth transition - NOT!"

Netanyahu responded to Trump, tweeting: "President-elect Trump, thank you for your warm friendship and your clear-cut support for Israel!"

Kerry is expected to deliver his speech at the State Department in Washington at 6 P.M. Israel time (11:00 AM EST). Senior State Department officials told the New York Times that Kerry is expected to present a list of principles to solving core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to them, Kerry is expected to deal in his speech with questions like where to draw the borders of a future Palestinian state, which security arrangements need to be part of the permanent agreement, what Jerusalem’s status should be, and how to deal with mutual recognition of Israeli and Palestinian states.

The senior American officials noted that Kerry is also expected “to address some of the misleading critiques” that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has voiced against the Obama administration since the UN Security Council decision on the settlements. They say Kerry will stress that the American move in the Security Council was not unprecedented and that the decision not to veto the resolution “did not blindside Israel.”

Trump's comments joined similar statements made on Twitter regarding Israel's relations with the U.S. and the United Nations. Trump on Monday chided the United Nations as "sad," days after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements despite pressure by the U.S. president-elect for a veto by Washington.

"The United Nations has such great potential but right now it is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad!" Trump said in a post on Twitter.

On Friday, Trump tweeted shortly after the UN Security Council voted in favor of an anti-settlement resolution allowed by an unprecedented U.S. abstention, saying, "As to the UN, things will be different after Jan. 20th."

Friday's vote was able to pass the 15-member council because the United States broke with a long-standing approach of diplomatically shielding Israel and did not wield its veto power as it had on many times before.

The resolution's two main clauses state that the settlements have "no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law," and call on the nations of the world "to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967."

Trump's comment against the resolution and U.S. abstention seemed to lead the sentiments among American leaders, but not all in the U.S. found the resolution unfavorable. Left-wing American Jewish group J Street responded positively to the passing of the resolution, saying in a statement that it “reaffirms the need for a two-state solution and calls for a halt to actions by both sides that serve to undermine the prospects for peace.”

Also Wednesday, Haaretz has learned that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov rejected Kerry’s proposal that the Quartet – the United States, Russia, the UN and the European Union – adopt the principles he will present in his speech.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told Israel's Army Radio that if Kerry lays out principles for a peace deal, as he is expected to do in his speech, it will limit President-elect Donald Trump's ability to set his own policy.

Erdan blasted the Obama administration as "pro-Palestinian," saying officials "don't understand what's happening in the Middle East." He said the Obama administration's refusal to veto a the UN Security Council resolution, which calls settlements a flagrant violation of international law, "threatens the security of Israel."

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