Jerusalem – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says U.S. President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has gifted him an official State Department map, updated to incorporate the long-disputed Golan Heights as part of Israel.
Speaking at a news conference in Jerusalem on Thursday, Netanyahu addressed a nation rattled by the prospect of an unprecedented second election campaign, after the newly re-elected Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition.
In a bid to play down the political chaos and focus public attention on his foreign policy prowess – in particular his close friendship with Trump – Netanyahu whipped out Kushner’s map, on which President Trump had scribbled, “Nice.”Advertisement:
The White House upended decades of policy when it recognized Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967 and later annexed, a move not internationally recognized.
Trump said he was disappointed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – who he called “a great guy” – didn’t succeed in forming a coalition.
“It’s too bad what happened in Israel. It looked like a total win for Netanyahu – who’s a great guy,” the president told reporters. “He’s a great guy. And now they’re back in the debate stage and they’re back in the election stage.”
Trump’s adviser Jared Kushner and U.S. Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to the region to drum up support for an economic conference in Bahrain next month.
The Trump administration has said it expects to use that meeting to unveil the economic stage of his proposal, which he has dubbed the “deal of the century”.
“(It) remains scheduled for ?June 25-26,” an administration official said in Washington on Thursday, adding that the political plan would be released “when the timing is right”.
Kushner and Greenblatt arrived just as Israel found itself heading for a snap national election on Sept. 17, after Netanyahu failed to put together a governing coalition and lawmakers voted to dissolve parliament on Thursday.
Netanyahu sought to play down the setback, referring only to “a little event last night” during brief joint remarks with Kushner. “That’s not going to stop us – we’re going to keep working together,” he said.