Trump says Obama’s ‘very, very strong’ defense of Israel
Donald Trump has suggested that President Barack Obama was “very, VERY strong” for backing Israel during the Middle East conflict.
In a Friday interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, the US President said he had been asked about Obama’s support for Israel by the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
“He has been very strong on Israel,” Trump said of Netanyahu.
“I will tell you that very strongly.”
Trump was asked if he supported the US-Israeli alliance during the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program.
“We’re in a very strong alliance,” he said.
“I have great respect for Israel, I have great respects for the Prime Minister of Israel.”
Trump has called the Obama administration “very strong” and said it “doesn’t want to do anything that might provoke Iran”.
In January, he said Iran had a “very good” nuclear weapons program and would continue developing it.
Iran has denied that it has ever sought to build nuclear weapons.
Trump has repeatedly questioned the Obama-era policy of arming Iran, which the US says is in violation of the nuclear agreement signed between Iran and the P5+1 powers.
Trump, who has criticized the Obama White House for its handling of the crisis, said it was not just Israel that had to “do something”.
“We’ve got to get our asses in the game and do something, and if we don’t, we’re going to have another Iran, and another Iran’s going to get even stronger,” Trump told ABC’s Stephanopoulos.
Trump also repeated his criticism of Netanyahu, saying he had “great respect for the prime minister”.
Trump, whose administration has been criticised for not doing enough to help Israel in the current conflict, said the US and Israel were not “on the same page”.
“I think we’re on different sides,” Trump added.
“And that’s where we have to be.
And we have great differences.
I mean, we’ve got a very, very good alliance.
We’ve got tremendous economic and military power.
We’re going in a different direction.”
The President also said that he had never “heard a single, solitary, word” from Netanyahu.
He said he was “pleased” that the US was backing Israel and that it was “time to be a great friend of Israel”.
“It’s time to be great friends with Israel,” he added.
“They’re going forward.”
The Israeli leader has faced mounting criticism from other world leaders over Israel’s actions in the Middle Eastern conflict.US Secretary of State John Kerry said in January that Israel was “unprepared” for the risk of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons and said the Obama era had been “a catastrophe”.
Earlier this week, US Vice President Mike Pence said that if Israel chose to take military action against Iran, “we will respond”.