TEL AVIV — Israeli President Reuven Rivlin apologized to Mexico for a tweet in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemingly endorsed President Donald Trump’s plans to build a border wall with Mexico, according to a statement from Rivlin’s office.
Netanyahu sent out the following tweet:
President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel's southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea 🇱🇺🇸
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) January 28, 2017
The Times of Israel reported on the apology:
In a phone call between the two heads of state, Mexican President Enrique Peňa Nieto said bilateral ties between Mexico and Israel had been “hurt” by the Twitter comment, rebuffing claims by Netanyahu that relations with Mexico remained strong… On Monday, Netanyahu said he never mentioned Mexico in the tweet and that he believes Israel-Mexico “ties are much stronger than any passing disagreement or misunderstanding.”
Rivlin told Nieto that the diplomatic tiff was caused by a “misunderstanding” and expressed hopes the two countries could continue to have a positive relationship.
“I am sorry for any hurt caused as a result of this misunderstanding, but we must remember that we are talking about a misunderstanding, and I am sure that we can put the issue behind us,” Rivlin said, according to a statement from his office.
Netanyahu has maintained a policy of building barriers to protect Israel from terrorists and illegal infiltrators.
Last February, Netanyahu said he was working to surround the entire country with fences and barriers “to defend ourselves against wild beasts” that surround the Jewish state.
“We are preparing a multi-year project to encircle Israel with a security fence, to defend ourselves in the Middle East as it is now, and as it is expected to be,” Netanyahu stated at the time.
“At the end, in the State of Israel, as I see it, there will be a fence that spans it all,” said Netanyahu. “I’ll be told, ‘This is what you want, to protect the villa?’ The answer is yes. Will we surround all of the State of Israel with fences and barriers? The answer is yes. In the area that we live in, we must defend ourselves against the wild beasts.”
Israel began construction of a security barrier along section of the West Bank in 2002 at the height of the Second Palestinian Intifada, or terrorist war of shootings and suicide bombings targeting Israeli civilians. That intifada was launched after PLO leader Yasser Arafat rejected an Israeli offer of a Palestinian state during U.S.-mediated negotiations in the summer of 2000.
Upon the completion of a significant continuous section of the security fence in 2003, Israel already saw a marked decrease in the number of suicide bombers able to penetrate Israeli cities. About 95% of the barrier consists of a chain-link fence backed up by high-tech surveillance systems and not the concrete barrier routinely shown by the news media. The concrete barriers are usually only located in areas where the wall intersects with Israeli communities and roads, including areas of previous Palestinian shooting attacks.
Separate from the barrier with the West Bank, Israel in December 2013 completed a security barrier along vast sections of the Jewish state’s border with Egypt. The barrier was originally built to keep out illegal infiltrators who were arriving largely from Africa. The numbers of infiltrators decreased to only a trickle following construction of the barrier, as Netanyahu indicated in his tweet.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.