Netanyahu hails Trump as a 'true friend of Israel'

web_photo_Benjamin Netanyahu_03072016

Benjamin Netanyahu is due in Kenya on Monday for the first time where peace and security top his three-day visit in Nairobi.

Benjamin Netanyahu is due in Kenya on Monday for the first time where peace and security top his three-day visit in Nairobi.

JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Donald Trump on his election as US president on Wednesday and called him "a true friend of the state of Israel".

"President-elect Trump is a true friend of the state of Israel, and I look forward to working with him to advance security, stability and peace in our region," the right-wing premier said in a statement.

"The ironclad bond between the United States and Israel is rooted in shared values, buttressed by shared interests and driven by a shared destiny.

"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."

Meanwhile, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett said on Wednesday the idea of a Palestinian state was over after Trump's election as US president, calling for an end to what has been the basis of years of negotiations.

"Trump's victory is an opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state in the centre of the country, which would hurt our security and just cause," Bennett, who heads the hardline Jewish Home party, said in an apparent reference to the occupied West Bank.

"This is the position of the president-elect ... The era of a Palestinian state is over."

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, also of Jewish Home, called on Trump to follow through on his promise to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in a break with the consistent policy of successive administrations, Republican as well as Democrat.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party, also called for the embassy to be moved, as did Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat.

The prime minister caused controversy when he ruled out a Palestinian state ahead of last year's general election, but later backtracked and has since expressed support for the two-state solution.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the most difficult issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, while the Israelis call the entire city their eternal indivisible capital.

Trump has pledged to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.