Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that his recent foreign trips to the UK, US, Australia and Singapore have strengthened Israel’s position in the world and prove the country is “a rising global power.”
Speaking to the Likud weekly faction meeting — his first in three weeks due to the trips — Netanyahu said his travels had bolstered Israel’s security and economy.
Citing further upcoming trips to Russia and China and a scheduled visit to Israel by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Netanyahu said the Jewish state was experiencing a turnaround in its global standing.
“Everywhere I went I was met with great sympathy for the State of Israel. I say sympathy, and often admiration. I saw this with leaders and I saw this with people on the streets.
“Israel is a nation sought after by many,” he declared.
Netanyahu said many countries were interested in forging alliances and pacts with the Jewish state, and insisted it had earned this respect by refusing to back down from its diplomatic positions.
“All this is happening not because we yield, or fold, or pander. The opposite it true: It’s because we stand firm on the rights of the Israeli people and the interests of the State of Israel,” he said. “Alliances and agreements are made with the strong, not the weak.”
Israel under his leadership, he asserted, “is strong — militarily, technologically, economically. And that is why we are also growing stronger diplomatically.”
Israel has recently come under intense international criticism for its passage of the Regulation Law, which would retroactively legalize Israeli West Bank outposts built on private Palestinian land.
The law has been widely censured by world powers, including the United Nations, the European Union, France, Britain, Turkey and others. Germany said its confidence in Jerusalem had been shaken and reportedly cancelled a planned summit with he Israeli government. Even some Israeli right-wingers opposed the law, including members of the governing coalition who voted in favor of it, and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.
The international community has also expressed great alarm at Israel’s possible withdrawal of support for the two-state solution.
The ostensible change in Jerusalem’s policy is likely the result of US President Donald Trump’s statement during his meeting with Netanyahu this month that he could live with either a two-state or a one-state solution. Netanyahu has since conspicuously avoided any public statement of support for two states.
During his five-day trip to Australia that ended Sunday, Netanyahu met with multiple national leaders, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and opposition leader Bill Shorten.
Besides agreements on business and travel links between the two countries, the conflict with the Palestinians arose in each meeting, and Netanyahu’s travels in Sydney were greeted on occasion by pro-Palestinian protesters.
Earlier in Singapore, the premier met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Tony Tan Keng Yam. Lee said that Israel was the second-largest contributor of foreign direct investments in Singapore from the Middle East, and the two discussed further cooperation between the countries.