Israel-Mexico crises over after President Rivlin apologizes for Netanyahu’s ‘border-wall’ tweet

Messages from Mexico have been received by the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem indicating that the diplomatic crisis between Israel and Mexico has apparently ended. A statement issued last night by the Foreign Ministry in Mexico City said that Israeli President Reuven Rivlin had apologized to his counterpart, Enrique Peña Nieto, for the misunderstanding caused by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement, which implied support for building a wall on the US-Mexico border. The Mexican president said after the conversation with President Rivlin that his country wished to preserve the friendly relationship and cooperation with Israel, while noting that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s tweet had harmed the relationship between the two countries and had raised questions in Mexico and its Jewish community.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sidestepped a demand by Mexico for an Israeli apology over the tweet, echoing previous Israeli explanations of his remarks, saying those comments did not refer to ties between the United States and its southern neighbor, rather emphasized the potential effectiveness of thwarting the infiltration of illegal migrants. “I take this opportunity to explain or clarify what I did and did not say in my tweet the other night. I thought you’d be interested in that.

I did point out the remarkable success of Israel’s security fence. But I did not comment about U.S.-Mexico relations. We’ve had, and will continue to have, good relations with Mexico. And I believe our ties are much stronger than any passing disagreement or misunderstanding. And in fact, I’ve had a long, fruitful and very friendly relationship with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and it will continue,” said Netanyahu.

In the Prime Minister’s tweet on Saturday, that drew rebuke from Mexico after US President Donald Trump retweeted Netanyahu’s supportive statement, the Israeli leader wrote “President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.” Netanyahu said he had been referring to Trump’s praise for the barrier Israel constructed along its southern border with Egypt, a fence with electronic sensors that has largely halted an influx of African migrants, among others.