Trump: Israel can defend itself with the billions the US gave it

“I spoke with Bibi,” Trump continued. “I told Bibi, ‘you know we give Israel 4.5 billion dollars a year. And they are doing very well at defending themselves.”

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December 27, 2018 06:35
1 minute read.
U.S. President Donald Trump (R) embraces Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

U.S. President Donald Trump (R) embraces Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after his remarks at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem May 23, 2017. (photo credit: JONATHAN ERNST / REUTERS)

 
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WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump on Wednesday dismissed Israeli concerns over his abrupt withdrawal of US troops from Syria.

Speaking to reporters on a surprise visit to American troops in Iraq, the president said that Israel receives enough US defense aid to defend itself, amid concerns that a US retreat will pave way for Iranian forces marching towards Israel’s border.

“I’m the one that moved the embassy to Jerusalem. I was the one who was willing to do that,” Trump said. “So that’s the way it is. We are going to take great care of Israel. Israel is going to be good. We give Israel $4.5 billion a year. And we give frankly a lot more than that if you look at the books. They’ve been doing a good job.”

Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have frequently spoken of Iran’s threat in Syria, including as recently as last week, according to aides of both leaders. Israel advocates repeatedly warned Trump that a complete withdrawal would expose Israel to great dangers.


“I spoke with Bibi,” Trump continued. “I told Bibi, ‘you know we give Israel $4.5 billion a year. And they are doing very well at defending themselves.”

Trump’s decision to retreat from the Syrian battlefield – a strategic nightmare comprising of a civil war, a massive counterterrorism battle and a complex geopolitical struggle – took US allies and his own national security cabinet off guard. His defense secretary, James Mattis, and top counter-Islamic State official, Brett McGurk, both quit in protest against the move.


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