JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli security officials reportedly met in secret with senior security advisers to President Donald Trump to coordinate policy between Israel and the new U.S. administration.
The meeting took place two weeks ago, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported Sunday, citing an unnamed senior Israeli official in Jerusalem. The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed to Haaretz that the meeting took place but did not divulge what was discussed.
Yossi Cohen, who heads the Mossad security agency, and acting National Security Adviser Jacob Nagel met with Trump’s national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn, and other officials two days before the Jan. 20 inauguration, according to the report. Cohen and Nagel also met in early December with Trump officials, the report said. Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, reportedly was present at both meetings.
The talks focused on Iran, the situation in Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to the report.
Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Trump at the White House on Feb. 15, their first meeting since Trump assumed office.
Since Trump took office, Israel has announced the approval of more than 6,000 new housing units in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. On Thursday, the Trump administration said the new construction “may not be helpful” in making peace between Israel and the Palestinians, though the statement refrained from some of the thickets of disagreement that frustrated relations between Netanyahu and President Barack Obama, Trump’s predecessor, including neither calling for a stop on building in existing settlements nor calling settlements an impediment to peace.