- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Donald Trump’s Election Day win means “the era of a Palestinian state is over,” a top Israeli official said Wednesday.

Naftali Bennett, Israel’s minister of education, hailed the Republican candidate’s victory Wednesday as a blow against establishing a two-state solution in the Middle East.

“Trump’s victory is an opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state in the center of the country, which would hurt our security and just cause,” Mr. Bennett said in a statement Wednesday in response to the GOP nominee’s projected White House win, the Jerusalem Post reported

“This is the position of the President-elect, as written in his platform, and it should be our policy, plain and simple. The era of a Palestinian state is over,” he said.

Mr. Trump, 70, all but certainly defeated Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s race by securing more than the 270 electoral votes needed to claim the presidency.

David Friedman, Mr. Trump’s adviser on Jewish and Israeli matters, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that the president-elect will breath new life into the United States’ relationship with Israel upon taking the oath of office.

“The level of friendship between the U.S. and Israel is going to grow like never before and it will be better than ever, even the way it was under Republican administrations in the past,” Mr. Friedman said.

A Trump administration will make it a priority to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Mr. Friedman added, keeping a promise pledged previously by the candidate’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, prior to her father’s Election Day win.

“It was a campaign promise and there is every intention to keep it,” Mr. Friedman said. “We are going to see a very different relationship between America and Israel in a positive way.”

“The hostility will be gone between Israel and the U.S.,” he added. “We know how Obama treated the prime minister of Israel and how [Hillary] Clinton berated the prime minister…we will move forward with mutual respect and mutual love and a much better future for the U.S. and Israel.”

On his part, Mr. Trump pledged in September to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital if elected to the presidency in defiance of longstanding United Nations policy.

Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s justice minister, called on Mr. Trump to uphold his promise in a statement of support issued Wednesday.

“I congratulate U.S. President Elect Donald Trump, a true friend of Israel,” he said in a statement. “I’m certain Trump will know how to courageously navigate the free world to successful destinations in the war against world terrorism. This is an opportunity for the American Administration to move the United States’ embassy to Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital city.”

Recognizing Israel’s capital city by placing the embassy there, he added, “would symbolize the tight connection and deep friendship between our two countries.”

While the Israeli government has officially spent decades towards reaching a two-state solution with Palestine, frequent military strikes and long-standing restrictions against Palestinian residents has complicated international efforts to recognize both nations equally.

“We will deal with any president elected by the American people on the principle of achieving permanent peace in the Middle East based on the two state solution on June 4 1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital,” a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a statement this week.

Mr. Bennett, the education minister, favors a “tripartite” solution in which contested territories are annexed by Israel but governed by the Palestinian Authority, with control over the Gaza Strip being relegated to Egypt, the Independent reported this week. 

“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,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response to Mr. Trump’s Election Day win.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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