Donald Trump uses expletive to attack ex-ally Benjamin Netanyahu
Former US President Donald Trump has launched a scathing attack on his once-close ally, ex-Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, accusing him of disloyalty.
Mr Trump said he was furious at Mr Netanyahu for the way he congratulated Joe Biden on his election victory, using an expletive towards him.
He also said he believed he saved Israel from destruction.
Mr Trump made the comments in interviews for a book about his role in Middle East peace-making.
The US administration under Mr Trump, from 2017-2021, is considered the most favourable towards Israel in the two countries' history.
Mr Netanyahu served as Israeli prime minister while Mr Trump was in office, and the two men were portrayed as having particularly warm personal relations, often publicly praising one another.
Speaking to Israeli journalist Barak Ravid for his book Trump's peace: The Abraham Accords and the Reshaping of the Middle East, Mr Trump accused Mr Netanyahu of congratulating too quickly Mr Trump's successor Joe Biden on winning the 2020 US election.
Mr Trump disputed the election result, though his claims were never upheld.
"The first person who congratulated [Joe Biden] was Bibi [Benjamin] Netanyahu, the man that I did more for than any other person I dealt with… Bibi could have stayed quiet. He has made a terrible mistake.
"He was very early," Mr Trump said. "Like earlier than most. I haven't spoken to him since. [Expletive] him.
In actual fact, Mr Netanyahu was not the first foreign leader to congratulate Mr Biden. He also tweeted his gratitude towards Mr Trump minutes later.
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In other comments, Mr Trump says: "Nobody did more for Bibi. And I liked Bibi," adding: "I still like Bibi. But I also like loyalty."
Mr Netanyahu was ousted from office in June this year after failing to form a government following deadlocked elections.
In the interviews given in April and July, Mr Trump also expresses his belief that he saved Israel from destruction.
"I'll tell you what - had I not come along, I think Israel was going to be destroyed. OK. You want to know the truth? I think Israel would have been destroyed maybe by now."
In response to Mr Trump's comments, Mr Netanyahu told Axios: "I highly appreciate President Trump's big contribution to Israel and its security. I also appreciate the importance of the strong alliance between Israel and the US and therefore it was important for me to congratulate the incoming president."
As US president, Mr Trump took a series of steps in support of Mr Netanyahu, including controversially recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital, sparking fury across the Arab world.
Israel has occupied East Jerusalem - claimed by the Palestinians as the capital of their own hoped-for state - since 1967.
Mr Trump also declared Israeli settlements in occupied territory were not illegal, putting the US out of step with the UN, and recognised Israeli sovereignty over the Syrian Golan Heights, also occupied by Israel since 1967.
Mr Netanyahu unveiled a planned settlement there called Trump Heights in return.