Trump ‘Disappointed’ With Netanyahu Over Canceled Israel Trip
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement repudiating his proposed plan to ban all Muslims entering the United States was disappointing, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told Jewish Insider on Thursday.
“He said something that wasn’t as positive as I would have liked, and I canceled it,” Trump told Jewish Insider. “I did not particularly like his statement.”
Trump ‘postponed’ his planned trip to Israel in December 2015, just a day after Prime Minister Netanyahu condemned his proposal to ban U.S. travel for all Muslims. “I have decided to postpone my trip to Israel and to schedule my meeting with @Netanyahu at a later date after I become President of the U.S.,” Trump tweeted.
Trump had planned to meet with Netanyahu December 28 in Israel, but shortly after the meeting was reported, the prime minister’s office sent out a statement rejecting Trump’s comments about Muslims. “Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects Donald Trump’s recent remarks about Muslims,” the statement said. “The State of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens. At the same time, Israel is fighting against militant Islam that targets Muslims, Christians and Jews alike and threatens the entire world.”
“I like him. I have always liked him,” Trump said on Netanyahu. “I was disappointed in his statement. He didn’t say, ‘Don’t come.’ In fact, it was the opposite. But I didn’t like his statement. That wasn’t necessarily the reason I didn’t go, but I didn’t like his statement.”
Trump made the comments in an on-the-record meeting with representatives of Jewish news media outlets and community leaders on the 25th floor of Trump Tower in Manhattan. He answered questions about Israeli settlements, the peace process, U.S. foreign aid and his relationship with the Jewish community.
When asked about his views on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Trump deferred the question to his aide Jason Greenblatt, the chief legal officer of the Trump Organization. whom he said advises him on Israel-related issues. “Jason, how would you respond to that?” Trump said. Greenblatt said that he would certainly not call the “occupied territories.”
“I think the settlements should stay but I think they have to work something out so that both sides are able to live in peace and safety,” Greenblatt asserted.
“Is that your position,” the reporter asked Trump.
“I think, Jason, right? I would say that, yeah,” Trump responded.
The Republican presidential front-runner revealed that David Friedman from the Kasowitz firm also advises him on Israel. “I like to get advice from people that know Israel, but from people that truly love Israel,” he remarked. “And both of the people, Jason and David, they have great love for Israel.”
Trump also affirmed his support for aid to Israel after he recently raised the possibility of curbing aid to Israel. “It’s our best ally in the Middle East, and I am going to be very strong for Israel.”
Responding to Bernie Sanders’ criticism of Israel’s military campaign in the 2014 war in Gaza, Trump said, “When missiles are being shot at a country, whether Israel or any other country, I don’t know what ‘disproportionate force’ is supposed to mean. Israel is being attacked to an extent that is very rarely seen, and so obviously you have to use very strong force.”
A recent poll showed Israelis consider Trump the most pro-Israeli presidential candidate, edging Hillary Clinton by two points.