Saturday, 21 April, 2018

Trump's haphazard approach to Middle East may compound risks

Kenny Thornton | 25 May, 2017, 17:17

Trump has repeatedly underscored USA support for Israel during his first global trip as president.

"We can keep going through the charade of a peace process on and on". It dates back to the Arab Peace Initiative, first presented by the League of Arab States in 2002, and is based on the promise that the Arab states will normalize their relations with Israel once the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved. He met multiple times with Netanyahu, and said in a joint appearance with the prime minister Tuesday, "I can tell you that the Palestinians are ready to reach for peace - and, from my meeting with my friend Benjamin Netanyahu, I can tell you Israelis are ready to reach for peace as well".

However, the world did notice when the couple left Tel Aviv to fly to Rome they appear to deliberately hold hands as they make their way across the windy tarmac, maybe making up for their rocky start.

He said he was keen to "keep the door open to dialogue with our Israeli neighbours to build confidence and create a real opportunity for peace".

Indeed, East Jerusalem is in many ways a microcosm of the occupation in general, with large, heavily subsidized and fortified Jewish-only settlements scattered around Palestinian neighborhoods, whose residents are always either protesting their mistreatment or being cracked down upon for protesting their mistreatment too loudly.

LeBron James, Kyrie Irving put Cleveland Cavaliers on brink of NBA Finals
"I wasn't coming out", said Irving after scoring a postseason career-high 42 points in a 112-99 win over the Boston Celtics . The Boston Celtics could need to play Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals without the assistance of rookie Jaylen Brown .

After his meeting with Abbas, Trump returned to Jerusalem for a solemn tribute to the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust. More than 20 people were killed by an apparent suicide bomber. They were joined by Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, as well as daughter Ivanka Trump and Kushner. Trump called those behind the attack "evil losers". There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Trump expressed strong support for Saudi Arabia against Iran during his visit and repeatedly criticized Tehran despite the landslide victory of moderate Hassan Rouhani on Friday. He toured the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which by Christian tradition is where Jesus was crucified and the location of his tomb.

The most high-profile moment of Trump's stay in Jerusalem was his visit to the Western Wall, one of the holiest sites in Judaism.

The visit raised questions about whether the US would indicate the site is Israeli territory. He even attempted, unsuccessfully, to undermine Obama's efforts by circumventing the White House and addressing his objections directly to Congress. Trump himself never commented.

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