Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for ministers to refrain from commenting on Donald Trump’s presidency after right-wing politicians said his election win put an end to a two-state solution with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu has been cautious in his comments since Trump’s stunning US presidential victory on November 8, simply sending his congratulations and pledging to work with him.
But other right-wing politicians have used Trump’s win to promote their cause, with some calling for the end of the idea of a two-state solution with the Palestinians, the basis of years of negotiations.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the religious nationalist Jewish Home party, said last week “the era of a Palestinian state is over”.
Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting on Sunday: “President-elect Trump and I decided to meet soon in order to discuss all of the important issues on the agenda between the US and Israel.
“I request that all ministers, deputy ministers, and [lawmakers] allow the incoming administration to formulate – together with us – its policy vis-a-vis Israel and the region, through accepted and quiet channels – and not via interviews and statements.”
Trump’s win is seen as likely leading to a far more favourable US policy toward Israel, though many analysts have cautioned his thinking remains unclear and he has proven himself to be unpredictable.
Netanyahu was among the first leaders Trump spoke to after his election victory.
At the same time, Israel is concerned that President Barack Obama may seek a UN resolution on its conflict with the Palestinians, which the Jewish state opposes before he leaves office on January 20.
Obama’s administration has intensified its criticism of Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank.
“In recent years we have wisely and responsibly managed our relations with the United States – the greatest and most important of our allies – and we will continue to do so in the coming months and years,” Netanyahu said.
The prime minister added Trump had “expressed very deep friendship for Israel, a friendship which has characterised him and, I must add, also the team around him, for many years”.
The United States grants Israel more than $3bn per year in defence aid.