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Echoing Past Presidents, Trump Affirms “Special Relationship” Between U.S. and Israel

President Donald Trump praised the “special relationship” between the United States and Israel while speaking with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by phone on Sunday, echoing sentiments expressed by previous American presidents.

According to the White House’s readout of the call, the two leaders discussed “ways to advance and strengthen the U.S.-Israel special relationship, and security and stability in the Middle East.”

The President emphasized the importance the United States places on our close military, intelligence, and security cooperation with Israel, which reflects the deep and abiding partnership between our countries. The President and the Prime Minister agreed to continue to closely consult on a range of regional issues, including addressing the threats posed by Iran. The President affirmed his unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security and stressed that countering ISIL and other radical Islamic terrorist groups will be a priority for his Administration. The President emphasized that peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be negotiated directly between the two parties, and that the United States will work closely with Israel to make progress towards that goal.

Trump, who described the 30-minute call as “very nice,” also invited Netanyahu to visit the White House in February.

In its own readout of the conversation, Netanyahu’s office characterized the talks as “warm” and emphasized that the prime minister expressed his interest in working “closely with President Trump to forge a common vision to advance peace and security in the region, with no daylight between the United States and Israel.”

Trump’s comments on the U.S.-Israel relationship echo positions previously embraced by both Democratic and Republican presidents.

In a letter to Netanyahu in 1998, during his first stint as prime minister, then-President Bill Clinton wrote that the U.S. is “proud of the strong bond we have forged with Israel, based on our shared values and ideals. That unique relationship will endure just as Israel has endured.”

Speaking before the Knesset ten years later, then-President George W. Bush said, “The alliance between our governments is unbreakable, yet the source of our friendship runs deeper than any treaty. It is grounded in the shared spirit of our people, the bonds of the Book, the ties of the soul.”

In a joint press conference with Netanyahu in 2010, then-President Barack Obama said, “the United States is committed to Israel’s security; we are committed to that special bond; and we are going to do what’s required to back that up, not just with words but with actions.”

[Photo: Kobi Gideon / GPO ]