Trump lands in Israel as he continues global trip

Janie Parker
May 23, 2017

But before getting down to business when he touches down in Tel Aviv, Trump will first have to answer to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for just one of last week's bombshell revelations: Why he passed on highly sensitive intelligence that originated with Israel, to Russian officials.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that shared concern about Iran was driving Israel and many Arab states closer and demanded that Tehran immediately cease military and financial backing of "terrorists and militias".

Trump will hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later in the day and travel to the occupied West Bank on Tuesday to meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas. "Never mentioned the word Israel".

The president's flight from Riyadh to Tel Aviv on Monday was believed to be the first direct flight between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Meeting Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Trump said Iran felt "emboldened" by the worldwide nuclear deal, promoted by Obama, that it signed in 2015 under which it agreed to limit its atomic programme in return for sanctions relief.

The flurry of attention surrounding the unchanged, decades-old USA policy towards the Western Wall came last week, reportedly with a shouting match when American officials were doing a site survey ahead of Trump's visit.

Any leader would face an enormous challenge in seeking to bring the Israelis and Palestinians together for meaningful talks, and Trump's inexperience and domestic political struggles will only add to it. It comes a week after the United States alliance with Israel was put to the test amid reports that Trump divulged highly classified intelligence obtained by the Israelis during his meeting with the Russian foreign minister. "They were all saying I did, so you had another story wrong". He also toured the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is believed to be where Jesus was crucified and the location of his tomb. He boldly stated that achieving peace is "something that I think is, frankly, maybe not as hard as people have thought over the years." in March during a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

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Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner landed in a second plane and sat with the American diplomatic delegation during the welcome ceremony.

The visit raised questions about whether the USA would indicate the site is Israeli territory. "I have come to this sacred and ancient land to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between the United States and the state of Israel".

The visit is part of a carefully constructed theme of Trump's first foreign trip as president.

According to statements released by the White House, Trump said he'd seen in Saudi Arabia a growing realization there was "common cause" between Arab leaders and Israel over the "the threat posed by Iran". "And if you both are willing, we're going to make a deal".

While Israeli officials cheered Trump's election, some are now wary of the tougher line he has taken on settlements: urging restraint but not calling for a full halt to construction.

"The wall is part of Jerusalem", he said, declaring only an undeniable fact accepted by all sides.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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