For Israel, it doesn’t matter who is elected

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Reuters)
Updated 28 September 2016

For Israel, it doesn’t matter who is elected

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet following the first US presidential debate that as far as Israel is concerned, it does not matter who is elected.
“They both spoke of their support for Israel and the importance of bilateral relations between our two countries,” he said Tuesday at the start of a Cabinet meeting, hours after the debate Monday night in New York between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump.
Netanyahu had met separately on Sunday with both candidates.
“It doesn’t matter which of them is elected – American support for Israel will remain strong. This alliance will stay strong and will even strengthen in the coming years,” he said.
Trump cited his meeting with Netanyahu during the debate when criticizing the Iran nuclear deal, which exchanged sanctions relief for limits on Iran’s uranium enrichment and other nuclear activities. Netanyahu was vehemently opposed to the deal, saying it harms Israel’s security.
“I met with Bibi Netanyahu the other day, believe me, he is not a happy camper,” Trump said.
The debate was aired live in Israel on one of the country’s major television channels with simultaneous Hebrew translation.
Clinton’s meeting with Netanyahu was brief. The two met for less than an hour in Manhattan, according to Clinton campaign officials.
Clintons' campaign said in a statement that the two had an "in-depth conversation."
She stressed that "a strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States" and "reaffirmed unwavering commitment" to the relationship.
According to her campaign, Clinton stressed her support for the 10-year, $38 billion military aid package signed between the two countries earlier the month and opposition to efforts to boycott Israel.
They also discussed Iran, the conflict in Syria and other regional challenges, including her support for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict negotiated by the two parties .
Trump and Netanyahu are long-time acquaintances. But in December 2015, Trump postponed a trip to Israel to meet with Netanyahu after the prime minister’s office criticized his proposal to temporarily ban Muslim immigrants .
The Trump campaign said Sunday that the nominee and the prime minister “have known each other for many years and had the opportunity to discuss many topics important to both countries,” citing Daesh, the Iran deal and Trump suggesting, if elected, continuing US military aid to Israel.


Saudi Arabia, other Middle East countries warn citizens after protests erupt in Lebanon

Updated 58 min 31 sec ago

Saudi Arabia, other Middle East countries warn citizens after protests erupt in Lebanon

  • Saudi Arabia and Egypt called on citizens to avoid protest areas
  • Kuwait’s embassy in Lebanon asked citizens wishing to travel to Lebanon to postpone their plans

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Lebanon called on its citizens to avoid places where protests are taking place in the country on Friday. 

The Kingdom’s embassy in Beirut advised its nationals to take care and to “stay away from places of protest,” Al-Ekhbariya news channel reported. 

It also announced that the Lancaster Plaza Beirut hotel in the capital's Raouche neighborhood is a gathering point from which Saudi nationals can be transported to Beirut airport. 

Egypt’s embassy in the Lebanese capital Beirut also called on its nationals in the country to avoid protest areas, Egyptian state news agency MENA said.

“The embassy calls on all Egyptian citizens in Lebanon to avoid the areas of gatherings and protests, to be careful in their movements and to abide by the instructions of the Lebanese authorities in this regard,” MENA said.

Meanwhile, Kuwait’s embassy in Lebanon asked citizens wishing to travel to Lebanon to wait because of the current protests and unrest.

“The embassy also calls on citizens currently in Lebanon to take utmost care and stay away from crowds and demonstrations,” the embassy said in its tweet.

Protesters across Lebanon blocked roads with burning tires on Friday and thousands marched in Beirut, calling on the government to resign over an economic crisis.