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U.S. Politics

Israel's Netanyahu, US treasury secretary condemn Capitol violence

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemns as "disgraceful" violence on the US Capitol by supporters of staunch ally President Donald Trump; visiting US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin calls it "unacceptable" - Emil SALMAN / ©AFP
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemns as "disgraceful" violence on the US Capitol by supporters of staunch ally President Donald Trump; visiting US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin calls it "unacceptable" - Emil SALMAN / ©AFP

(AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday condemned as “disgraceful” violence at the US Capitol building by supporters of his staunch ally President Donald Trump.

Netanyahu made the comments in Jerusalem alongside Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who called the storming of the Capitol by pro-Trump rioters “unacceptable”.

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The Israeli premier said the “rampage at the Capitol yesterday was a disgraceful act and it must be vigorously condemned”.

“I have no doubt that… American democracy will prevail. It always has,” added Netanyahu, who has repeatedly called Trump Israel’s best-ever friend in the White House.

Mnuchin, speaking after Netanyahu, made a rare call from a member of Trump’s cabinet for the result of November’s presidential election result to be respected.

“Now is the time for our nation to come together as one and to respect the democratic process in the US,” he said.

Mnuchin came to Jerusalem following a trip to Khartoum, where Sudanese authorities on Wednesday inked the so-called Abraham Accords, a series of Trump-brokered normalisation agreements between Israel and Arab states.

Sudan was the third country to sign the accords, following the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. 

Morocco has also agreed to re-establish ties with the Jewish state that were severed during the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

Mnuchin said he would leave Israel later Thursday and head to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait. 

“We will be discussing both the activities of the Abraham Accords, economic issues and the strategic issues as it relates with Iran.”

Netanyahu applauded the Trump administration for ditching a 2015 deal Iran signed with major powers that imposed limits on its nuclear programme in exchange for an easing of international sanctions.

The Israel premier has urged the incoming US administration not to restore the 2015 deal, signed when President-elect Joe Biden was vice president under Barack Obama. 

– ‘Moment of trial’ –

Mnuchin spoke as the US Congress was certifying Biden as the next US president, dealing a hammer blow to the deeply controversial effort by Trump and his loyalists to overturn the election result.

The certification came hours after a mob breached the US Capitol and sent lawmakers scrambling for safety. They were able to return hours later, shaken but determined to complete the task.

Egged on in an extraordinary rally across town by an aggrieved Trump, a flag-waving mob had broken down barricades outside the Capitol and swarmed inside, rampaging through offices and onto the usually solemn legislative floors.

Israeli Defence Minister and alternate prime minister Benny Gantz said he “was saddened by last night’s violence”.

“I know that the democratic foundations of America and the resilience of its people are stronger than any one moment of trial.”

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