Facing Mexico’s fury, Israel backtracks on Trump border wall praise
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Facing Mexico’s fury, Israel backtracks on Trump border wall praise

Spokesperson says Netanyahu's statement declaring US southern barrier a 'great idea' is not a comment on US-Mexico relations

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tours the new fence along the Jordanian border with IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and the head of the Southern Command Eyal Zamir, February 9, 2016. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tours the new fence along the Jordanian border with IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and the head of the Southern Command Eyal Zamir, February 9, 2016. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

A spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry stressed Saturday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not commenting on US-Mexican relations when the Israeli leader said earlier that US President Donald Trump was “right” in pushing for a wall along the US-Mexico border to block illegal immigration.

The backtracking came after Mexican officials phoned Jerusalem and angrily demanded a clarification, the Haaretz daily reported on Saturday night.

Earlier Saturday, Netanyahu had welcomed praise from Trump for Israel’s security barrier. Referring to the recently built fence along Israel’s border with Egypt, the prime minister said the measure had been a “great success” in keeping out migrants, who mainly came from African nations.

“President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea,” Netanyahu wrote in English on Twitter, Trump’s preferred method of communication.

“[Netanyahu] referred to our specific security experience which we are willing to share,” spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon wrote on Twitter.

“We do not express a position on US-Mexico relations.”

Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said in a communique that it had expressed its “profound surprise, rejection and disappointment in the prime minister’s message on Twitter” to Israel’s ambassador. “Mexico is Israel’s friend and should be treated as such.”

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