Right-wing Israeli politicians competed Wednesday in their praise for US president-elect Donald Trump, expressing hope that America’s policies toward Israel would soon change dramatically.
Former minister Gideon Sa’ar said there is a strong basis to think Israel has an unprecedented window of opportunity after the very pro-Israel statements Trump made during his campaign.
“It is time to rethink our diplomatic flexibility,” Sa’ar said.
“In past years, diplomatic pressure led to a lack of building in Jerusalem. There will be less pressure from Trump, so we should be building much more in our capital. I will not be surprised if the new president keeps his promise to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.”
Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett went further, declaring that “the era of a Palestinian state is over.
“Trump’s victory is an opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state in the center of the country, which would hurt our security and just cause,” Bennett said. “This is the position of the president-elect, as written in his platform, and it should be our policy, plain and simple.”
The Knesset’s Land of Israel caucus held a celebratory meeting in the Knesset in which more than a dozen MKs called upon Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take advantage of the US election to restore construction throughout the country, abandon the two-state solution, and begin annexing Judea and Samaria.
Likud MK Yehudah Glick even invited Trump to celebrate his victory on the Temple Mount. He invited Trump to “visit Israel and Judea and Samaria to see for himself, as he claimed, that settlement is the way to peace.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) congratulated Trump in the Knesset plenum, speaking in English, despite protocol prohibiting MKs from addressing the plenum in a foreign language.
“Distinguished members of Knesset, allow me to congratulate, on behalf of the Knesset and myself, the elected president of the United States of America, Mr. Donald J. Trump and vice president-elect Mr.
Mike Pence,” Edelstein said. “I am confident that the longstanding friendship and alliance between the United States and Israel will remain strong during Mr. Trump’s term in office. We send our best wishes to the American people and are certain that they will remain united in dealing with the challenges facing America and the world today. Good luck!” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat sent a congratulatory letter to the president-elect praising him and asking him to follow through on his recent pledge to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to the capital.
“You have been a dedicated friend to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, and the heart and soul of the Jewish people,” the letter continued. “And through that, I thank you. In your term as president, I am confident that you will continue to empower our city by reaffirming its sovereignty and moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.”
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog said Trump’s campaign was indicative of “the continuation of a global trend of disgust with the old, power elite and the desire for swift and direct change.” He called the Trump election a “social, economic and leadership tsunami,” and said it could lead to change in Israel as well.
His Zionist Union colleague, MK Merav Michaeli, complained that Trump ran on a banner of harming and humiliating women. She expressed disappointment that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was not allowed to break the glass ceiling and become the first female US president.
Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen said that Trump and Clinton hold almost identical policies regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “and it doesn’t seem that the identity of the winner would have changed the US’s unfair mediation policy in the region, in which it automatically sides with Israel.”
Jabarin said that the only hope to salvage a two-state solution is a move by US President Barack Obama in his last two months in office to recognize a Palestinian state and support a UN Security Council resolution that would set a timetable for the formation of a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 lines.
Joint List MK Basel Ghattas told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that the elections would not change anything for the Palestinian people because the two-state solution ended when Netanyahu was elected, not when Trump was elected.
He expressed hope that American institutions limiting the president’s power would “prevent him from doing nonsense.”
Likud MK Oren Hazan, who has attempted repeatedly to draw parallels between himself and Trump, said in response to the result that he had predicted the surprise outcome.
“My friends in the media, I don’t want to say I told you so, but it’s fitting,” Hazan tweeted.
Hazan compared media scrutiny of Trump to the scrutiny he himself has faced in the Israeli media.
“In the beginning, there were those who called Trump a clown (sound familiar?) and I answered that he would be the next president!,” Hazan added, sharing a video clip of an interview he gave to the Post in which he predicted Trump would win.Dan Eisenbud and Jerusalem Post Internet staff contributed to this report
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