After days of unprecedented tension, Netanyahu touts strong US ties

December 29, 2016 17:13

PM says true tragedy in region is the current mayhem, not "relatively marginal" Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

1 minute read.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)

The strong alliance between Israel and the US remains firm, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday, following days of harsh criticism of Washington for enabling an anti-settlement resolution to pass at the UN Security Council last Friday.

This alliance, he said, “is strong even when there are disagreements, and this reflects the deep level of support by the American people for the State of Israel.”

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His comments at a ceremony for new Air Force cadets at the Hatzerim Air Force base came less than 24 hours after he expressed “deep disappointment” in Wednesday night's speech by US Secretary of State John Kerry, which was a harsh indictment of Netanyahu and his government's policies. Netanyahu said Wednesday night that Kerry's speech was “almost as unbalanced as the anti-Israel resolution” he said the US “organized, advanced and brought” to the UN Security Council.

“I expect to work together with the new administration to strengthen even more the security of both our nations,” he said at the Air Force ceremony. “A strong Israel is an asset for the US and a guarantee of security in the Mideast.”

Referring to the new F35 planes that arrived from the US earlier this month, Netanyahu said he is very grateful to “the American people, the American Congress and the American administration for its security aid to Israel.”

Nevertheless, his speech did include jabs at Kerry and the administration.

Speaking to the pilots, he said that an aerial view of the region will illustrate the extent of the destruction that has swept over the region since the onset of the Arab Spring, a period of turbulence, mayhem and destruction that he pointed out has lasted longer than World War II. This, he said, is the true tragedy of the Middle East, “not our conflict with the Palestinians,” which he said was “relatively marginal.”

“In a few months of fighting in Syria, Yemen and Sudan, and with no connection to us, more people have been killed than during the entire 100-year conflict with the Palestinians,” he said

“In all due respect to the those who talk about the [Israeli-Palestinian issue] as the heart of the conflict in the Middle East, this is the big, true tragedy that is hitting the region,” he asserted.

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