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Netanyahu looks to reboot relations with the US


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Netanyahu looks to reboot relations with the US

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After a post-Brexit hop to London the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
is off to nurture his alliance with the Washington of Donald Trump.

However, the initial euphoria in Israel at Trump’s election win has dissipated; it seems Israel will not be handed a blank cheque, and that US support will be more nuanced.

“My main consideration is to take care of Israel’s security first. To strengthen the strong alliance with the United States This requires a responsible policy, it requires a balanced policy and this is how I intend to act. I navigated the relationship in a calculated manner and I will continue to do so now,” said Netanyahu ahead of the meeting.

The two men know each other from the time that Netanyahu was Israel’s UN ambassador in the 1980s. They also met during the election campaign, and appear to be on the same wavelength.

Copying the Trump twitter style, Netanyahu seems to speak the same language as the tweeter-in-chief.

After the tense eight years of the Obama presidency and his parting slap, allowing a vote calling for an end to settlements to pass in the UN on December 23 by not using America’s veto for the very first time, Israel thought the shackles would be off with Trump.

At their last meeting Trump even went so far as to promise that, if elected, he would recognise Jerusalem as the nation’s capital, and might move the US embassy to the city from Tel Aviv. This sparked Palestinian outrage.

But reality appears to have set in. In an interview in Hayom, a mass circulation free daily newspaper last Friday, Trump appeared to backpedal, calling on Israel to be reasonable and stating that the colonies were not helping the peace process.

“Already in the first weeks of the Trump administration we’ve seen some very cautious, very careful statements coming out of the White House, suggesting that U.S. policy has not changed that much, that the desire to achieve peace in the Middle East, is still very much on the agenda, So I think in many respects, campaign promises get reshaped into something less dramatic once the reality of governing hits,” says the former US ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro.

Netanyahu thus finds himself presented with a tricky meeting as he is a hostage to his right wing. It may be that he decides to concentrate on Iran, and leave other more sensitive topics well alone.

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