Israelis on edge before Trump visit
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 20, 2017,
May 20, 2017, 22:22
Matt Brooks, the Republican Jewish Coalition director, said Trump's Jewish critics should keep the bigger picture in mind: His first tour overseas, next week, will include Israel and a visit to the Western Wall. "But we don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing". Trump said settlement building was "not helpful" for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, hosted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House and appeared to rollback on his pledge to move the U.S embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The restrictions would aim to inflict damage in the same way that blocking money transfers did before Iran signed the 2015 agreement to curtail its nuclear program, said Michael Oren, a deputy cabinet minister to Netanyahu and his former ambassador to the U.S. The Israeli leader was among the most outspoken opponents of the deal and relishes the prospect of renewed confrontation if Iran violates its terms, he said.
Nor can the president confidently glow over his administration's security and intelligence cooperation with Israel, after reportedly revealing highly classified, Israeli-sourced intelligence on Islamic State to Russia's top diplomat and spy. "And while the pictures from the trip may be great, the White House can't change the headlines that will follow him wherever he goes".
"Abu Mazen stressed Trump's seriousness in settling the Palestinian issue" after they met in Washington this month, said the minister, referring to Abbas by his Arabic nickname.
All food served to Trump and his family are to be certified as safe by a tester overseen by Israeli and United States security officials, NBC said. The Egyptian president did not fail to inform his important American visitor that Abbas, too, was constrained by domestic political considerations. The wall is in the Old City, a part of east Jerusalem, which the USA and most of the world consider to be occupied territory.
But the more interesting aspect is the way in which this will wreak havoc internally, as there is a clear divide between Trump officials who think that the Western Wall is in Israel and Trump officials who think it is not.
On the eve of President Trump's Mideast visit, a new poll shows a sharp drop in the number of Jewish Israelis who believe the president is pro-Israel. As much of a firestorm this has ignited in Israel, it may do the same amongst Trump's own staff. "But instead Trump's people have come out with a series of statements that negate Israel's rights to the Old City", Barnea writes. There is no reason for Trump or for Melania - with whom he will be traveling - to be aware of the extremely sensitive gender politics of the Wall, and it has the potential to cause all sorts of issues. What happens if Melania tries to go with Trump to the men's side?
"I never make a judgment about a person without listening to them". We have great respect for PM Netanyahu and we made a decision to go with the chief rabbi mostly because it's the custom there. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and White House social media director Dan Scavino referred to Trump's visit to "Palestine", suggesting to some in Israel that they believe the West Bank now exists as an independent, sovereign body.
According to Israeli emergency services, some 48 Israelis have been killed and 608 wounded in attacks by individual Palestinians since August 2015 - the latest bout of violence. While Israelis call Jerusalem their "indivisible capital", Palestinians want the capital of any future state in the east of the city. But that doesn't mean other diplomatic traps aren't lying in wait.
Trump is coming to Netanyahu's turf, but early indications are that he has no intention of sharing the limelight with his host.
Trump and Netanyahu spoke on the phone but according to Israeli sources, the conversation had to do with just Trump's upcoming trip to Israel, which is still on. Israel was in an uproar earlier this week after USA officials confirmed Trump shared highly classified intelligence about the Islamic State group with senior Russian officials visiting the White House.