Mexico FM says Netanyahu should apologize for 'aggressive' tweet about border wall
ABIR SULTAN (POOL/AFP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should apologize for a tweet endorsing US President Donald Trump's controversial plan to erect a wall on the US-Mexico border, but the Israeli prime minister denied he was targeting the Latin American country.
Netanyahu has shocked Mexico and the country's small Jewish community in praising Trump's wall plan on Twitter over the weekend.
"We are expecting a clarification, a rectification. I think that an apology would be something appropriate in this case," Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray told the Televisa network.
Videgaray said Mexico rejects Netanyahu's statement "and we hope that the government of Israel has sensitivity to correct this position."
Videgaray said the Israeli government's explanation so far was not acceptable.
On Monday, the Israeli prime minister blamed the media for the controversy.
"They say 'you’ve hurt Mexico, you've ruined the relationship with them.' Who even referred to Mexico? We've had a good relationship with them and we will keep on having one," he said.
The Israeli leader, speaking at a meeting of his right-wing Likud party, accused the media of overplaying the dispute, failing to focus on the "fantastic success" of the fence built in southern Israel to prevent migrant traffic and spreading "fake news."
"I am not surprised. The left-wing media is on a Bolshevik hunting trip, brainwashing and character-assassination against me and my family," he said.
Since the end of 2016, Netanyahu has been the subject of two police investigations -- one regarding luxury gifts he and his family allegedly received and the other concerning a meeting with the head of a prominent newspaper to try to negotiate better coverage.
He denies any wrongdoing.
Earlier in the day Netanyahu refused to apologize for the tweet after Interior Minister Arye Dery said that the premier's support had caused a rift in ties with the Mexican government and Jewish community.
According to a report by the Ha'aretz daily, Netanyahu and Dery engaged in a heated exchange over a tweet the Prime Minister sent Saturday calling the US-Mexico border wall a "great idea" and comparing it to Israel's own fence along the Egyptian border.
The dispute reportedly took place after a weekly cabinet meeting, according to an anonymous source present at the meeting, Ha’aretz daily reported.
Dery criticized the Prime Minister’s actions explaining that the Mexican Jewish community expressed worry over the future of Israeli-Mexican relations Saturday night.
“What you did created a mess, both with the Mexican government and with the Jewish community there,” Dery reportedly told Netanyahu. “Jews in Mexico even violated Shabbat to draft petitions against you.”
A statement issued by leaders of the Mexican Jewish community on Saturday night confirmed Dery’s statement.
"The Jewish community of Mexico disapproves of the announcement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about a wall on the border,” the statement said. “We don’t agree with his approach and strongly oppose his position.
Tourism Minister Yariv Levin praised Netanyahu’s decision to construct a wall along the Egyptian border in the meeting asserting that the wall halted illegal immigration on the border, Ha’aretz daily reported.
“The wall you built stopped the flood of infiltrators,” Levin said.
Netanyahu denied that his comments sparked controversy stating that “Mexico doesn’t have a problem with the wall, but with Trump’s demand that they pay for it” and asserted that he didn’t comment upon the payment of the wall.
Dery then insisted that Netanyahu apologize and recommended that he tweet an apology. Netanyahu retorted that Dery should issue a statement in an effort to smooth ties between the two countries.
Dery issued an official statement on twitter, emphasizing that the Prime Minister values warm ties between Israel and Mexico but Ha’aretz daily reported that according to high ranking officials in the foreign ministry, the dispute is still ongoing.
Netanyahu refused to apologize and stated that even though Mexico regularly votes against Israel at the UN, he has refrained from criticizing the country in order not to spark controversy.
(Staff with agencies)
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How about Mexico apologises for not voting against the recent ridiculous UNESCO resolution?!
How about Mexico apologizing for teaching their citizens how to go top the US illegally