Donald Trump uses Israel to woo Christian voters

Published: 26th September 2016 08:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th September 2016 08:48 AM   |  A+A-

Campaign 2016 Trump_Mukh (2)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. (AP)

Donald Trump used a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, the president of Israel, yesterday (Sunday) to appeal to conservative Christian voters, attempting to portray himself as presidential on the eve of a vital debate.

Mr Trump's campaign released a statement after the Trump Tower gathering, saying the two men spoke for an hour about terrorism, Iran, Isil and cybersecurity. There was no mention of the two-state solution.

The Republican presidential candidate announced that, under his government, the United States "will finally accept the long-standing congressional mandate to recognise Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the state of Israel".

On Saturday night Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York who has become one of Mr Trump's closest advisers, announced that he no longer believed in the two-state solution.

"You can make peace between the two of them, but you can't treat them the same," he said, condemning moral equivalence between the two parties. The US, he said, should "reject the whole notion of a two-state solution in Israel."

Mr Trump's two top Israel aides, Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman, have also advised the candidate to abandon hopes of two states for two peoples living peacefully side by side, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Mr Trump also appears to have discussed his much-vaunted wall between Mexico and the US, with the campaign stating that they "discussed at length Israel's successful experience with a security fence that helped secure its border."

Mrs Clinton also met with Mr Netanyahu - who she has known for many years. Unlike Mr Trump, she pledges to continue President Barack Obama's policy of supporting a two-state solution.

Yet the Democrat nominee has assiduously courted Jewish voters, with her campaign website making much of her three-decade public commitment to Israel, dedicating an entire page to her personal, diplomatic and legislative history with the country under the headline: "Hillary Clinton and Israel: a 30-year record of friendship, leadership and strength."

The meeting will doubtless be more ammunition for both candidates in this (Monday) evening's debate. Billed as "the Super Bowl of debates" - with 100 million expected to tune in - a poll was released yesterday showing a virtual dead heat in the race for the White House.

The Washington Post-ABC News poll showed Mrs Clinton and Mr Trump tied among registered voters at 41 per cent, with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson at 7 per cent and Jill Stein, of the Green Party, at 2 per cent.

And viewers were eager to see whether Mrs Clinton would indeed come face to face with her husband's former mistress, after Mr Trump speculated that he could invite Gennifer Flowers to the presidential debate.

In a sign of how dirty the election campaign has become, Mrs Clinton has reportedly invited a nemesis of Mr Trump's, businessman Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, to attend.

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