Sep 18, 2019

Trump after Netanyahu election setback: Our relations are with Israel

Trump and Netnyahu at the White House. Photo: Michael Reynolds - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump appeared to distance himself from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today after the latter’s failure to win a parliamentary majority in Tuesday’s elections.

What he's saying: Trump told reporters in California that he hasn’t spoken yet to Netanyahu about the election results and stressed that his administration's relations “are with Israel." Those cool remarks are a blow to Netanyahu, who is fighting for his political survival.

Flashback: During his election campaign, Netanyahu used his personal relationship with Trump as an asset.

  • Netanyahu used images of himself and Trump on billboards around the country and in campaign ads under the headline “In a different league,” a message intended to stress his advantage when it comes to foreign policy experience.
  • Trump gave Netanyahu his enthusiastic backing during April's elections but offered less active public support in the run-up to this week's vote.
  • Trump and Netanyahu did speak on the phone days before the election, and the president tweeted that he'd be willing to explore the possibility of a defense treaty with Israel after the elections. The tweet suggested Netanyahu would be remaining in office — an outcome that is now uncertain.

The latest: Netanyahu cancels trip to UN General Assembly over Israel election results

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Netanyahu cancels trip to UN General Assembly over Israel election results

Photo: Ilia Yefimovich/picture alliance via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has canceled his planned trip to the UN General Assembly meeting in New York after failing to gain a parliamentary majority in Tuesday's elections, his office announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: Netanyahu hasn't missed the UN General Assembly meeting since 2010. He was planning to meet President Trump on the sidelines of the summit to discuss a defense treaty. The fact that Netanyahu decided to cancel the trip shows the depth of the political crisis he is currently in.

Go deeper: Netanyahu and rival Benny Gantz deadlocked after election

Keep ReadingArrowSep 18, 2019

Israeli election: Netanyahu says he won't concede, blames media bias

Netanyahu addresses supporters on election night. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he'll still fight to keep power despite exit polls from today's elections showing his Likud party trailing the center-left Blue and White party and his right-wing bloc falling short of a majority.

What he's saying: Netanyahu accused the media of biased coverage during the campaign and insisted that after waiting for the final results, he'd attempt to form a governing coalition. Netanyahu also said Israel needs a Zionist government committed to Israel's identity as a Jewish state, adding: "No government can be based on support from Arab parties." Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving prime minister, also stressed that he's the man to deal with President Trump's peace plan and the Iranian nuclear threat.

Go deeper: Early election results.

Keep ReadingArrowSep 18, 2019

Rex Tillerson says Netanyahu used 'misinformation' to persuade Trump

Tillerson makes farewell remarks to State Department employees in 2018. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday that while serving in President Trump's Cabinet, the Israeli government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would sometimes share "misinformation" to persuade Trump on particular issues, the Harvard Gazette reports.

What he's saying: "They did that with the president on a couple of occasions, to persuade him that ‘We’re the good guys, they’re the bad guys,’ Tillerson said at a panel with Harvard professors. "We later exposed it to the president so he understood, ‘You’ve been played.' It bothers me that an ally that’s that close and important to us would do that to us."

Go deeperArrowSep 19, 2019