Today, President Donald Trump supported incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and assured him that Israel has not been spying on his government.
Trump’s statements contradict an article published today by the daily Politico, which accuses Israel of having placed “mysterious” espionage devices near the White House.
“I don’t believe it. No, I don’t think the Israelis are spying on us. It would be very difficult for me to believe that. My relationship with Israel has been great,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
The president then conceded, “Anything is possible! But I don’t believe it!”
Trump insisted on his robust relations with Israel and cited his “maximum pressure” campaign towards Iran, which has received strong support from Netanyahu’s government.
Newspaper Politico, quoting U.S. officials, published an article in which it asserts that the Israeli executive possibly placed miniature espionage apparatus called “Stingrays” near the White House.
According to this media outlet, the Trump government concluded that Israel was responsible for these acts of espionage, but decided not to take notice and not to repress the Israeli authorities.
From Israel, Netanyahu’s office considered the press article to be a “blatant lie”.
“There is a long-term commitment and a directive from the Israeli government that states that it will not participate in any intelligence operation in the U.S.,” the Israeli leader’s office said in a statement.
This diplomatic muddle between Washington and Tel Aviv comes shortly before Israel’s September 17th general election.
Those elections will be the second so far this year after Netanyahu failed this past May in its attempt to form a coalition government and dissolve the Knesset (Israeli Parliament).