As the relationship between the United States and Israel have soured during President Obama administration, a Trump presidency would bring ties to "new heights" as the U.S. President-elect is seen as more pro-Israel.
Israel's right-wing prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, expressed confidence that his office said that Trump, in a phone conversation, had invited him to a meeting in the United States "at the first opportunity."
During the campaign, Trump won support in Israel with a promise to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, all but enshrining the ancient city as Israel's capital.
While that has been promised many times by presidential candidates in the past, Trump is the sort of leader who may well make it happen, and he would likely have full backing from the Republican-dominated U.S. Congress, too.
Netanyahu, who has had a rocky relationship with President Barack Obama, issued a statement congratulating Trump and hailed him as a "true friend" of Israel.
"I am confident that President-elect Trump and I will continue to strengthen the unique alliance between our two countries and bring it to ever greater heights," Netanyahu said.
The phone conversation the two held was "hearty and warm" and regional issues were discussed, Netanyahu's office said, adding that: "The Prime Minister ... told [Trump] that the United States has no better ally than Israel."
The U.S.-backed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed in 2014. Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett, a right-wing party leader who backs Israeli settlement building and opposes a Palestinian state, made the implications of Trump's win very clear in a rapidly released statement. "The era of a Palestinian state is over," Bennett said.
Israel has occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the 1967 Middle East war. There are now 350,000 Jewish settlers living in the West Bank and 250,000 in East Jerusalem. The Palestinian population of the West Bank is about 2.8 million, while around 300,000 live in East Jerusalem.
The U.S.-Israeli relations have deteriorated after Israel announced its plans to build hundreds of new settlement homes deep in the West Bank early October. The move came after Obama approved a $38 billion Israeli military aid package and attended former president Shimon Peres's funeral in Jerusalem.
The sharper-than-normal comments come as the White House weighs a last-ditch effort to get the peace process back on its feet before Obama leaves office in January.
In a similarly strong-worded statement, the State Department said building the units "is another step toward cementing a one-state reality of perpetual occupation." The plan not only undermines hopes for peace with the Palestinians but "is fundamentally inconsistent with Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state," spokesman Mark Toner said.
Under President Trump, Israeli analysts expect there to be less pressure from the United States to halt settlement building, meaning the settler population will grow unchecked, pushing the faint possibility of a two-state solution - the aim of diplomacy for decades - further out of reach.
"… Mr. Trump acknowledged that Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish People for over 3000 years, and that the United States, under a Trump administration, will finally accept the long-standing Congressional mandate to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel," said Trump campaign during Netanyahu's trip to New York for the United Nations General Assembly meeting.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was one of the first Arab leaders to congratulate Donald Trump on his election win. Abbas appeared to hold out some hope that Trump, with no clear foreign policy program, may turn a new leaf when it comes to the Middle East, a statement said. "Abbas congratulates the U.S. President Donald Trump on his election and hopes just peace can be achieved during his tenure," said the statement on the official WAFA news agency.
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