Netanyahu win gives US peace plan ‘better chance:’ Trump

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that election results handing a narrow victory to right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu give a “better chance” to a yet to be unveiled US peace plan.
“I’d like to congratulate Bibi Netanyahu,” said Trump after nearly complete results put the incumbent premier in position to form a coalition.
Trump predicted a boost to his administration’s promised plan for a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “The fact that Bibi won, I think we’ll see some pretty good action in terms of peace,” Trump said.
“Everybody said you can’t have peace in the Middle East with Israel and Palestinians. I think we have a chance and I think we now have a better chance,” he added.
Nearly complete results in the tight election put Netanyahu in position to form a narrow parliamentary majority with a coalition of right-wing and religious parties, allowing him to become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister.
Trump has enthusiastically backed Netanyahu, making controversial gestures of support to the hawkish leader, including recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the occupied Golan Heights area.
The US peace plan has been long in the making but little detail has emerged about what it might propose.
Palestinian leaders have already indicated they are deeply skeptical, given Trump’s all-out support for Netanyahu.
On Tuesday, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo refused to reaffirm longstanding US support for the creation of a future Palestinian state.
This followed Netanyahu’s declaration that he could annex Jewish settlements built in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank — a move that would seek to formalise Israeli control over parts of the supposedly future Palestinian state.
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