Netanyahu: U.S. election will not harm strong U.S.-Israel relationship

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reassured his Cabinet that relations between the Unites States and Israel will remain strong “whoever is elected” president in the U.S. election this week.

“Whoever is elected the new president, I am convinced that U.S.-Israel relations, which are solid and strong, will not only remain as such, but will further strengthen,” Netanyahu said Sunday at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting.

He also called on the United States to continue to help seek a resolution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict through direct negotiations between the two sides and not through international institutions such as the United Nations.

“We also expect that the U.S. will remain faithful to the principle that it has set over many years, that the Israeli-Palestinian dispute can be resolved only by direct negotiations without preconditions, and of course, not in decisions by the UN or other international institutions,” he said.

Israeli officials fear that once the election is over, U.S. President Barack Obama will advance a proposal in the United Nations Security Council to lay out his vision for a solution to the conflict, a first for the U.S., which traditionally uses its veto to stop the advance of anti-Israel proposals.

Netanyahu also said in his statement: “I would like to note that the alliance with the U.S. is the first, most fundamental and most important of all of our relationships. Thus it has been and thus it will continue.”

Meanwhile, Israel’s Channel 10 reported Sunday evening that Netanyahu has ordered his Cabinet members to not comment publicly on Tuesday’s election.

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