Former United States Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, on Saturday night criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s statement in which he appeared to praise President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
“President Donald J. Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel's southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea,” Netanyahu had tweeted, in what may have been a direct response to comments by Trump in an interview on Fox News on Thursday, in which he cited Israel’s use of border fences and other barriers to block terrorists and reduce illegal immigration from the Sinai desert as proof that the border wall with Mexico could work.
But Shapiro, in a series of tweets after Netanyahu’s statement, seemed to suggest that Netanyahu had a motive in releasing the statement.
“PM Netanyahu's top aide's told me a key goal in Trump's era was keeping bipartisan support for Israel. Now this?” he wrote, adding, "Hard to explain this intervention on a hotly debated issue in domestic US politics. Unless this endorsement is Trump's demand of Netanyahu for something Netanyahu wants, the quid pro quo. But for what?”
The former Ambassador went on to suggest several explanations as to why Netanyahu supposedly expressed support for the border wall, including the cancellation of the Iran nuclear deal, moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem and supporting building in the so-called “settlement blocs”.
“To me, it looks like Trump is already squeezing Netanyahu hard. ‘The Art of the Deal,’” Shapiro wrote in his final tweet, a reference to the title of Trump’s book.
Meanwhile on Saturday night, the Israeli Foreign Ministry clarified Netanyahu’s comment.
“IsraeliPM referred to our specific security experience which we are willing to share. We do not express a position on US- Mexico relations,” wrote Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.
Mexico’s government rebuked Israel on Saturday night, following Netanyahu’s tweet.
"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,” it said, adding, "Mexico is a friend of Israel and should be treated as such by its Prime Minister.”