Trump touts defense treaty discussions with Netanyahu days before Israeli election – POLITICO
President Donald Trump on Saturday said he discussed a potential mutual defense treaty with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call just days before the Israeli elections.
“I had a call today with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the possibility of moving forward with a Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and Israel, that would further anchor the tremendous alliance between our two countries,” Trump tweeted.
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“I look forward to continuing those discussions after the Israeli Elections when we meet at the United Nations later this month!” Trump added.
Netanyahu has been exploring a defense alliance with the U.S. for some months now, according to reports, and the issue is seen as a potential boost to his reelection bid. The Israeli elections are scheduled for Tuesday.
The latest polls show a close race between Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party and the centrist Blue and White party led by former armed forces chief Benny Gantz. It’s Israel’s second snap election in several months after Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition after elections in April.
Sen. Lindsey Graham floated the idea of a mutual defense treaty in April at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual meeting in Las Vegas, saying, “An attack against Israel would be considered an attack against the United States.”
The call between the two heads of state also came just days after POLITICO reported government officials concluded Israel was behind the placement of cellphone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington.
Trump told reporters on Thursday that he found it “hard to believe” as his “relationship with Israel has been great.”
Netanyahu flatly denied the report, saying it was “a blatant lie.”
After an attack claimed by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels on an oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia, Trump on Saturday spoke by phone with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, according to White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere. During the call, Trump reaffirmed his support for Saudi self-defense and committed to ensuring the stability of oil supplies, according to a pool report.
Trump also tweeted about the Taliban, after the president’s cancellation of Camp David peace talks with the Afghan group last week.
“The Taliban has never been hit harder than it is being hit right now. Killing 12 people, including one great American soldier, was not a good idea. There are much better ways to set up a negotiation. The Taliban knows they made a big mistake, and they have no idea how to recover!” Trump wrote on Twitter after spending the morning at his golf course in Virginia.