Trump Arrives in Israel, Says Israelis, Arabs Share 'Common Cause' Against Iran

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 24, 2017

During his quick stop in the region, Trump met with both Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. He then moved on to address efforts towards Middle East peace.

Mr Netanyahu said he hoped an Israeli prime minister could soon make the same flight. "I look forward to working with these leaders towards a lasting peace".

Trump began his trip this weekend in Saudi Arabia, where he gave a speech revealing a more measured stance towards Islam compared to much of his campaign rhetoric, as well as a turn away from the Obama-era policies towards the region.

Before he flew to the Middle East last week, Mr Trump fired former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey under the pretence that he was a "showboat".

In reality, Trump had touched the globe as part of an inauguration ceremony for the Global Center for Combatting Extremist Ideology in Ridyah, Saudi Arabia on Sunday. The demonstrations are meant to draw attention to a month-long hunger strike by hundreds of prisoners being held by Israel and to protest what many Palestinians say is unfair USA support for Israel.

The conflict has also allowed al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and, to a lesser extent, the Islamic State to carve out more territory in Yemen. Meanwhile, Israel and Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, have fought three wars since 2008.

National Security Adviser HR McMaster said Trump will "express his desire for dignity and self-determination for the Palestinians". "And if you both are willing, we're going to make a deal".

During the 2016 USA campaign, Trump mused about his belief that "Islam hates us". (The order was later blocked by the courts.) But by choosing Saudi Arabia as his first overseas destination as President, Mr. Trump has signalled that his administration will retain the Washington establishment line towards West Asia.

US President Donald Trump has insisted that he "never mentioned" Israel in a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at which he reportedly shared highly classified information from a foreign partner. Egypt and Jordan are the only two Arab countries to have signed peace deals with Israel.

One of the long-standing regional proposals is a Saudi peace initiative that was first put forward in 2002 and has been re-endorsed several times since. It also urges a "just settlement" of the Palestinian refugee problem.

A senior official who was part of the Palestinian delegation said Trump is planning to try to relaunch peace talks, with a goal of reaching an agreement within a year. "Iran has stood by their side and continues to do so", he said.

"President Trump is really, really serious and he thinks peace is possible". And, wherever possible, we will seek gradual reforms - not sudden intervention. "We are ready. Everything is ready". "All the stars are aligned", he told Reuters.

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