Netanyahu Ahead of Trump Phone Call: I Am Willing to Give Palestinians a 'State-minus'

Israeli prime minister to discuss Iran, Palestinians and Syria with President Trump on Sunday, noting that overturning the Iran nuclear deal remains a top objective for Israel.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu at Trump Tower, September 25, 2016.
Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu at Trump Tower, September 25, 2016.Credit: GPO
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened Sunday's diplomatic-security cabinet meeting by congratulating U.S. President Donald Trump, adding that he expects to speak with Trump for the first time since his inauguration. Netanyahu added that he would like to discuss the Palestinian issue, the situation in Syria and the Iranian threat with Trump.

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Netanyahu hinted that legislation aimed at annexing the West Bank settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim is expected to be discussed at 3 P.M. The prime minister said no one has done more for the settlements than his government, adding that he will continue to work for the settlements in a smart and responsible manner. Earlier Sunday, the prime minister told Likud ministers that he was only willing to give Palestinians a "state-minus."

He added that stopping the Iranian threat and overturning the nuclear deal continues to be a top objective of the State of Israel.

>> Read more: Trump White House 'at very beginning stages of even discussing' embassy move to Jerusalem >>

Netanyahu congratulated Trump over Twitter on Inauguration Day, writing "Congrats to my friend President Trump. Look fwd to working closely with you to make the alliance between Israel&USA stronger than ever."

On Saturday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin sent his congratulations to President Trump and invited him to Jerusalem.

"The alliance between our states and our nations is not solely based on friendship. It is rooted in our shared values and longstanding commitment to freedom, liberty and democracy - the foundation stones of our societies," Rivlin wrote Trump.

"As you take this esteemed office, I wish to express my gratitude for the support and friendship of the American people, along with my hope that our special relationship and cooperation will continue to flourish and grow stronger," Rivlin continued.

On Friday, Haaretz revealed that Israeli intellgence officials warned Netanyahu against pushing Trump to tear up the Iran nuclear deal. According to the report, "there is concern that revoking the pact would cause a chasm between Washington and the other signatories, most importantly Moscow and Beijing. In addition, a direct clash between Iran and the United States over the issue would mean forfeiting the agreement’s accomplishments: Iran’s commitment to refrain from creating nuclear atomic weapons, setting back its project by at least several years and extending the 'breakout time' Tehran would need in order to produce a single nuclear weapon."

On Saturday night, Netanyahu posted a video to his Facebook page stating that one of the main issue he would be bringing up with Trump in their first meeting was the Iranian threat, and that he intended to talk to the new U.S. president “about ways to oppose the threat of the Iranian regime, which calls for the destruction of Israel.”

Bennett responded to Netanyahu's video within one minute on Twitter: “Iran is an important issue but preventing another Iran in the heart of Judea and Samaria is no less important.” Bennett wrote that “a historic opportunity must not be missed to prevent Palestine on Highway 6 on the pretext of the Iranian threat," referring to a major toll road bordering the West Bank.

In a further tweet, Bennett wrote that Trump’s entry to the White House was a new era. “For the first time in 50 years, the prime minister can decide: either sovereignty or Palestine. The continuation of the Bar-Ilan/Palestine line will be a disaster for generations to come. We will work toward sovereignty.”

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