Netanyahu’s win boosts chances of Middle East peace plan: Trump

Washington: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election victory in the country’s parliamentary polls increased the chances of securing a peace plan for the Middle East, said US President Donald Trump on Wednesday (local time).

“Everybody said you can’t have peace in the Middle East with Israel and the Palestinians. I think we have a chance and I think we have now a better chance with ‘Bibi’ (Netanyahu) having won,” The Hill quoted Trump as saying.

Trump’s comments came after Netanyahu was on course to secure a fifth term as Israeli Prime Minister as per unofficial results after his main challenger and former army chief Benny Gantz conceded defeat in the 21st parliamentary elections.

Earlier, Trump congratulated Netanyahu for his “great and hard-fought” win.

“Spoke to Bibi @Netanyahu to congratulate him on a great and hard-fought win. The United States is with him and the People of Israel all the way!” he tweeted.

He also posted a photograph which showed Netanyahu’s supporters waving his campaign flags at a victory rally.

The elections for the 120-seat Knesset (Parliament) was viewed as a closely fought battle between Netanyahu’s Likud Party and Gantz’s Blue and White party. More than 6.3 million voters exercised their franchise to elect members of the Israeli national legislature in 10,000 polling stations across the country on April 9.

Since Trump assumed office in 2017, his administration has been expected to unveil a holistic plan for peace in the Middle East. However, no such proposal has been released so far.

US’ National Security Advisor John Bolton on Wednesday said that the government will unveil the plan “in the very near future”.