Donald Trump says he talked to Benjamin Netanyahu 'at length' about wall separating Israel and West Bank

Israel's security barrier is seen by Palestinians as a form of oppression 

Will Worley
Monday 26 September 2016 14:26
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Mr Trump met the Israeli Prime Minister on Sunday and pledged that the 'unbreakable bond' between Israel and the US would continue
Mr Trump met the Israeli Prime Minister on Sunday and pledged that the 'unbreakable bond' between Israel and the US would continue

Donald Trump has held discussions with Israel’s Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu about the country's wall separating the West Bank. Over the course of a 90-minute meeting at Trump Tower in New York, the pair “discussed at length Israel's successful experience with a security fence that helped secure its borders”, according to a Trump campaign press release.

Proposals for a wall between the US and Mexico have been among the most controversial policies suggested during Mr Trump’s presidential campaign.

The Republican front runner has promised to make the Mexican state pay billions for the construction of a concrete structure designed to keep out migrants trying to get into the US. To run the whole length of the southern border with Mexico, the wall would need to be almost 2,000 miles long.

In contrast, the separation barrier in Israel is about 440 miles long, running around the Palestinian territory of the West Bank.

Supporters of the barrier say it has been effective in reducing terrorist attacks and activity in Israel.

But others dispute its effectiveness and say it segregates and isolates Palestinians, reduces their access to services and basic freedoms and encroaches on their land. It has been a constant sticking point in Israeli-Palestinian relations and a vivid reminder of the conflict.

Mr Trump said his meeting with Mr Netanyahu also reaffirmed the “unbreakable bond” between the US and Israel and spoke about regional security, technology, economics and military assistance and cooperation.

The Republican candidate also advocated the aim of recognising Jerusalem as “the undivided capital of the state of Israel” – a statement often uttered by presidential candidates during election campaigns.

While the main institutions of the Israeli government are based in the city, Palestinians also stake a claim to it. Jerusalem is also home to a number of sensitive religious sites, such as the Temple Mount and al-Aqsa Mosque – which have been a flashpoint for violence in the past.

The statement said: “Mr Trump recognised that Israel and its citizens have suffered far too long on the front lines of Islamic terrorism. He agreed with Prime Minister Netanyahu that the Israeli people want a just and lasting peace with their neighbours, but that peace will only come when the Palestinians renounce hatred and violence and accept Israel as a Jewish state.”

The statement gave no indications of any further discussion as to how peace negotiations in the country could progress.

Hillary Clinton also met with Mr Netanyahu while he was in New York. An aide told CNN: "The secretary reaffirmed her commitment to work toward a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, negotiated directly by the parties, that guarantees Israel's future as a secure and democratic Jewish state with recognised borders and provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity."

She also discussed intelligence and military relations, the Iranian nuclear deal – which Israel has strongly contested, but Ms Clinton supported – and working against attempts to delegitimise Israel, including through the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, the Clinton campaign said.

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