Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton separately on Sunday (25 September) ahead of their first presidential debate on Monday. Netanyahu met with the Democratic nominee Sunday night at the W Hotel in New York after spending nearly 90 minutes with the Republican nominee at Trump Tower.
Clinton and Netanyahu
Clinton and Netanyahu, who held several talks during her time as secretary of state, spoke about the recently-signed US-Israel defence Memorandum of Understanding to "strengthen the defence and intelligence relationship and work closely with Israel to ensure Israel's Qualitative Military Edge," a senior Clinton campaign aide told CNN.
The pair discussed a number of regional issues, including the Iran nuclear deal and the ongoing civil war in Syria. According to CNN, Clinton and Netanyahu also spoke about the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
"The secretary reaffirmed her commitment to work towards a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiated directly by the parties that guarantees Israel's future as a secure and democratic Jewish state with recognised borders and provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity," the aide said.
Trump and company meet with Netanyahu
The Israeli prime minister's meeting with Clinton's GOP rival reportedly lasted a bit longer. Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Israel's ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, also participated in the meeting. According the Trump campaign, he and Netanyahu discussed "military assistance, security and regional stability."
A statement from the Trump campaign said Trump told Netanyahu that if he is elected, "a Trump administration would finally accept the long-standing Congressional mandate to recognise Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel." The real estate mogul promised "extraordinary strategic, technological, military and intelligence cooperation" between the US and Israel if he wins the election.
Trump added that Israel was a "vital partner of the United States in the global war against radical Islamic terrorism," according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
In keeping with Trump's repeated promises to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, the two also "discussed at length Israel's successful experience with a security fence that helped secure its borders." Trump maintains that his administration would build a wall to keep out immigrants and that he will force Mexico to pay for it. However, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has repeatedly asserted Mexico will do no such thing.
A statement from the prime minister's office said: "Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked Mr Trump for his friendship and support of Israel." Netanyahu was in New York for the United Nations General Assembly meeting.
Clinton and Trump are scheduled to face off in their first presidential debate on Monday (26 September) at 9pm EST/2am BST from Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.