Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 24 May 2019

Benjamin Netanyahu boasts about Trump embassy move in new election video

The Israeli leader is using the mission's move to win votes ahead of early elections in April

Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech during the "CyberTech 2019" conference for the Cyber industry on January 29, 2019 in Tel Aviv. AFP
Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech during the "CyberTech 2019" conference for the Cyber industry on January 29, 2019 in Tel Aviv. AFP

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has boasted about US President Donald Trump’s decision to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in a new election campaign video in what is an apparent bid to secure votes ahead of early elections he called for April as corruption allegations against him continue to mount.

The 16-second clip shows Mr Netanyahu promising to secure the US move that proved so controversial to the majority of Arab and Western nations. It then cuts to Mr Trump saying: “Today we officially open the United States embassy in Jerusalem. Congratulations!”

The campaign ad again shows how much of a political and strategic victory Mr Trump handed his longtime ally Mr Netanyahu.

The move was widely condemned before it was finalised in May last year, but Mr Trump went ahead with it anyway, effectively recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and adding another flashpoint issue to the decades-long conflict.

He had pledged to move the embassy on the presidential campaign trail

The video ends with one of Mr Netanyahu’s campaign team saying that he is “in a different league”.

One commentator from an Israeli newspaper agreed that Mr Netanyahu was in a different league but joked that he was in the same as “Orban, Bolsonaro, Trump...in league with neo-fascists, supremacists, misogynists, Islamophobes, enablers and exploiters of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial”.

Palestinian officials in Ramallah cut ties with Washington after the embassy move, arguing that it showed it could not be an impartial mediator in the conflict.

The Trump administration has for two years promised to roll out a peace plan that will bring peace to both sides but it has kept any details of the plan secret and delayed its unveiling at every turn, raising suspicion in Ramallah that a plan even exists.

Mr Trump has surrounded himself with a Middle East team that is viewed as favourable to Israel because of their connections to Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.

Updated: January 31, 2019 04:20 PM

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