U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Saturday night stressed the importance of Israel and criticized Secretary of State John Kerry over his recent comments that the Israeli settlement enterprise is an obstacle to peace.
“We have to protect Israel. Israel, to me, is very, very important. We have to protect Israel,” Trump told reporters at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, according to Politico.
He also said with regards to Kerry’s statements, “I disagree with what he has done with Israel”.
Trump this past week criticized the UN and the Obama Administration for treating Israel “with disdain and disrespect” and urged Israel to “stand firm” until he takes office on January 20.
Last Saturday, the President-elect said he would work to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) despite the fact that the vote at the Security Council made it more difficult.
“The big loss yesterday for Israel in the United Nations will make it much harder to negotiate peace. Too bad, but we will get it done anyway!” wrote Trump.
The President-elect is a strong supporter of Israel, though during his election campaign he initially stated he would be “neutral and unpredictable” when it comes to the Israel-PA conflict.
He later clarified his comments and said that while he would be happy to broker a peace deal, “in order for an agreement to happen, the Palestinians need to show interest. It’s a little difficult to reach an agreement when the other side doesn’t really want to talk to you.”
Trump has also said he would do his best to bring an end to “the war that never ends”, describing an Israel-PA peace deal as “the ultimate deal”.