Middle East/North Africa

Netanyahu after parliament dissolves: ‘Little event’ will not prevent US-Israel cooperation

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said cooperation with the U.S. will not be hindered after his nation’s parliament voted to dissolve and set up a second national election later this year.

“I have to say I’m tremendously encouraged by everything that I hear about how the United States under President Trump is working to bring allies in this region together against common challenges but also to seize common opportunities. And even though we had a little event last night, it’s not going to stop us,” Netanyahu said Thursday during a meeting with White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt.

“We’re going to continue working together. We had a great, productive meeting which reaffirms that the alliance [with] the United States of America has never been stronger and is going to get even stronger.”

The remarks come amid political uncertainty in Israel after Netanyahu failed to form a ruling coalition.

{mosads}The Knesset voted to dissolve early Thursday morning local time, a move that will force the prime minister to stand for election for a second time this year as corruption charges are being weighed against him. Netanyahu was elected for a fifth term in April but was unable to unite Israel’s right-wing parties or appeal to the liberal Labor Party to create a majority coalition. 

It marked the first time in Israeli history an elected prime minister had failed to forge a working government.

President Trump weighed in on the situation Thursday morning to praise Netanyahu, with whom he has a close relationship.

“It’s too bad, what happened in Israel. It looked like a total win for Netanyahu. He’s a great guy. And now they’re back in the debate stage, and they’re back in the election stage. That is too bad. Because they don’t need this. I mean, they’ve got enough turmoil over there. It’s a tough place,” he told reporters.

The turmoil could impact the unveiling of the White House’s Middle East peace plan, which it had planned to roll out after Ramadan ends and after Netanyahu forms his government.

Tags Benjamin Netanyahu Donald Trump Israel Jared Kushner Knesset

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