Netanyahu seeking to secure big diplomatic gesture from Trump ahead of Israeli election

Netanyahu seeking to secure big diplomatic gesture from Trump ahead of Israeli election
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is allegedly hoping to announce the start of negotiations with the US over a future defence pact.
2 min read
03 September, 2019
Prime Minister Netanyahu is seeking a dramatic diplomatic gesture from President Donald Trump [Getty]
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is seeking a big diplomatic gesture from US President Donald Trump before the country's general election in September.

Talks have been held between Netanyahu's advisers and people close to President Trump over a possible statement, Haaretz reported. 

The statement would include a US commitment to protect Israel from any future threat.

A defence pact of this kind would involve several US government agencies and its completion before the 17 September Israeli elections is highly unlikely.

For this reason, Netanyahu is allegedly hoping to secure a "joint announcement about the start of negotiations over a future defense pact", Haaretz reported.

A conference call on the defence pact was held last month by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America.

At the conference Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said he had discussed the pact with President Trump.

Graham believes there is support inside the US administration for such a move.

A presidential statement in which President Trump expressed US readiness to help Israel militarily is also under discussion, Haaretz reported. Such a statement would not require approval by government agencies or Congress.

When asked Thursday if the US would support Israel militarily, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told radio host Hugh Hewitt.

"I have every confidence this president, who moved our embassy and who made clear Israel's rights in the Golan Heights, will do all that is necessary to ensure that our great partner in Israel will be protected."

Meanwhile, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah threatened Monday to hit "deep inside" Israel, a day after an exchange of fire on the Lebanese-Israeli border sparked fears of a wider conflict between the arch-foes.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is seen as wanting to avoid a major conflict before the vote.

An election was called for September after Netanyahu and his right-wing and religious allies won the most seats in an April election but failed to forge a viable coalition.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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