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Donald Trump sent Benjamin Netanyahu a signed map of Israel with the word 'nice' beside annexed territory

The strange spectacle served as a distraction for Netanyahu who has failed to build a coalition and must hold another election.

The map sent by Trump to Netanyahu.
The map sent by Trump to Netanyahu.
Image: Ariel Schalit/PA Images

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump sent Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a signed map of Israel with the disputed Golan Heights incorporated into Israel territory. 

Trump signed the map with his name and wrote the word ‘nice’ with an arrow pointing to the disputed area. 

The map was presented to Netanyahu by Trump’s son-in-law and special advisor Jared Kushner, who is in the region as part of his attempts to finalise a peace plan.

Kushner and other architects of the administration’s plan are travelling the region to build momentum for the long-awaited proposal.

“This map had not been updated since the Six Day War,” Netanyahu told reporters, referring to the 1967 Middle East war, after which Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria.

Israel later annexed the Golan Heights it in a move not internationally recognised.

“Well, it has been updated, it just got an update. … That is to say, there are very important developments here,” Netanyahu said. 

Netanyahu pointed to a note scribbled on the map, which he called President Trump’s personal handiwork. “Here is the signature of Trump, and he writes ‘nice.’ I say, ‘very nice!’” 

The spectacle served as a distraction for Netanyahu who was confronted with one of the biggest defeats of his political career yesterday.

After failing to form a coalition and opting instead to hold an unprecedented second election.

Israel will now head to the polls again on September 17, just over five months after an April election that saw Netanyahu and his right-wing and religious allies win a majority.

As Wednesday’s midnight deadline to form a coalition approached, Netanyahu was unable to convince ex-defence minister Avigdor Lieberman to abandon a key demand and join the government.

That led Netanyahu to instead move forward with his plan B and hold a parliament vote on new elections, which was approved just after the deadline in the early hours of yesterday. 

During his race for re-election, Netanyahu consistently leveraged his close friendship with Trump to win votes, touting various political gifts from the White House as evidence of his foreign policy prowess.

The Trump administration recognising the Golan Heights as part of Israeli territory was of these actions. 

- With reporting by Associated Press and © – AFP 2019

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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