Netanyahu on Trump, Clinton Meetings: No Matter What, U.S.-Israel Ties Will Only Grow Stronger

Following his meetings with the two presidential candidates, Israeli prime minister says Israel to remain non-partisan issue.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
Drew Angerer| Jewel Samad / AFP / Illustration Haaretz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented Monday on his meetings with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, saying that "no matter what happens in November, the friendship between Israel and the U.S. will not only continue but will grow stronger."

Netanyahu was in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly session last week. He met with U;S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the assembly session and later also met separately with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton.

In the meeting with Clinton, she stressed “her opposition to any attempt by outside parties to impose a solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, "including by the UN Security Council," according to a statement released by her campaign. She further reaffirmed her commitment to a two-state solution negotiated directly by the parties.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the W Hotel in New York, September 25, 2016.
Kobi Gideon, GPO

According to the statement, Clinton said a "strong and secure Israel" is vital to the United States.

During the meeting with Trump, the Republican presidential candidate told the Israeli prime minister that if elected, he "would finally accept the long-standing Congressional mandate to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel," according to a statement released by Trump's campaign. A statement rejected by the Palestinians.

Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu at Trump Tower, September 25, 2016.
GPO

Sources close to Netanyahu said after the meeting with Trump that the prime minister visited the candidates, rather than their coming to him, because he understood the time pressure they were under in the run-up to the debate between them on Monday.

A senior Israeli official said that the meetings between Netanyahu and Trump materialized over 24 hours on Friday, starting with a phone call the candidate's aides held with the prime minister's advisers. Once it was clear that a meeting between the two was possible, Netanyahu's office contacted Clinton's campaign and asked to hold a meeting with her too, in order to keep the balance.