Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defended his ‘wall’ remarks, accusing the media of spinning it as support for Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the Mexican border. Unimpressed, Mexico’s FM called it an act of “aggression,” and has demanded an apology.
Netanyahu had initiated a diplomatic row on Saturday after he tweeted what Mexico interpreted as open support of the US president’s plans to erect a wall to separate the two neighboring North American countries.
The story began unfolding during Donald Trump’s interview with Fox News on Thursday, when the new American leader hailed the Israeli wall with Egypt as an example of an effective security measure.
President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel's southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea 🇮🇱🇺🇸
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) January 28, 2017
“The wall is necessary,” Trump said. “That’s not just politics, and yet it is good for the heart of the nation in a certain way, because people want protection and a wall protects. All you’ve got to do is ask Israel. They were having a total disaster coming across and they had a wall. It’s 99.9 percent stoppage.”
In reaction to Trump’s praise, Netanyahu tweeted on Saturday: “President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.”
Following the PM’s tweet, the Israeli Foreign Ministry immediately took to social media to ‘clarify’ that Netanyahu was simply referring to the 150-mile (240-kilometer) barrier along its border with Egypt which Israel say has been effective at stopping illegal migrants and traffickers crossing into the Jewish state.
.@IsraeliPM referred to our specific security experience which we are willing to share.We do not express a position on US- Mexico relations
— Emmanuel Nahshon (@EmmanuelNahshon) January 28, 2017
That explanation, however, did not stop the Mexican Foreign Minister from demanding an explanation and apology from Tel Aviv.
“The Foreign Ministry expressed to the government of Israel, via its ambassador in Mexico, its profound astonishment, rejection, and disappointment over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s message on Twitter about the construction of a border wall,” Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement following the tweet. “Mexico is a friend of Israel and should be treated as such by its Prime Minister.”
On Monday, Netanyahu clarified that his tweet was written in response to Trump’s praise of Israel’s border with Egypt, blaming the media for reporting “fake news” and unleashing a “Bolshevik hunt” against him at a time when Israeli prosecutors are conducting two criminal probes into his possible abuse of office.
— Middle East Monitor (@MiddleEastMnt) January 31, 2017
It appears that Mexico is not buying into the clarification so easily, with the Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray calling on the Israeli government to clarify and “correct” its position.
“I would ask prime minister Netanyahu how many walls has President Trump said he wants to build? It’s obvious he was referring to the relationship with Mexico, and we should be serious and assume responsibility for what we say,” Videgaray said Monday, Reuters reported.
“I think an apology … would be appropriate in this case,” the minister added. “It’s absolutely incomprehensible that its prime minister should express himself in this way, which frankly we consider an aggression.”
(RT, PC, Social Media)