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Clinton and Trump meet with Netanyahu in New York

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton [GPO/JINIPIX photo]

Hillary Clinton said she opposed any UN Security Council bid to impose a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just hours after a summit between the Israeli leader and Donald Trump last Sunday.

Netanyahu’s meetings with the Democratic nominee and her Republican rival were a study in similarities – principally, in pledging close defence co-operation with Israel – and differences, especially in Clinton’s holding up Israel as a model for pluralism, and Trump lauding its erection of a wall of separation from the Palestinians.

“The secretary reaffirmed her commitment to work towards 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 recognized borders and provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity,” said a statement from the presidential campaign of the former secretary of state.

“Secretary Clinton reaffirmed her opposition to any attempt by outside parties to impose a solution, including by the UN Security Council,” the statement said.

Netanyahu, who was in New York to attend the opening of the UN General Assembly, met with the nominees on the eve of their first debate. He met with Trump at the real estate developer’s headquarters in Manhattan, Trump Tower. He met with Clinton at the W Hotel in the same borough; her headquarters is across the river, in Brooklyn.

Netanyahu sought assurances that neither nominee would join international efforts to pre-empt direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Palestinian officials prefer international mediation until Israel freezes settlement expansion. Israel wants direct talks.

Netanyahu also reportedly fears that U.S. President Barack Obama will in his final months in office allow a UN Security Council resolution outlining a final status for a two-state solution to go through, although Obama has taken pains until now to keep that from happening, and has not indicated any plans to reverse course.

Unlike Clinton, Trump in his statement did not explicitly commit to opposing outside attempts to impose a solution, but he did check off other boxes on Netanyahu’s list of expectations from U.S. nominees, including the expectation that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state and his pledge to recognize Jerusalem’s capital.

Clinton did not mention Jerusalem in her statement, but she affirmed Israel’s status as a “democratic Jewish state.” She said she would enforce last year’s deal with Iran to exchange sanctions relief for a rollback of nuclear development. Netanyahu vehemently opposed the deal. Trump’s statement said only that the two men discussed the deal at length. Trump in the past has said he would renegotiate the deal.

Clinton in her statement committed herself to combating the boycott Israel movement; Trump did not mention it. Both nominees swore to uphold defence assistance for and co-operation with Israel.

Clinton affirmed “the common values of democracy, equality, tolerance, and pluralism.” Trump’s statement said he “recognized that Israel and its citizens have suffered far too long on the front lines of Islamic terrorism” and discussed with Netanyahu Israel’s security wall in the West Bank.