US President Donald Trump touches down in Israel on Monday, and nobody knows what’s going to happen. Sure, every step of the way has been choreographed and coordinated between the Trump team and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office. Every word, every photo and every stop on the way has been vetted, dissected and analyzed to prevent any improper interpretation or misplaced symbolism from occurring. Nobody knows what’s going to happen – he’s a loose cannon entering a volatile minefield. So when you combine the inclination to utter off-script statements with a less-than-average knowledge of the facts at hand, you’ve got the perfect recipe for any number of cringe-worthy moments during Trump’s appearances in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. From Israel’s point of view, the best thing to do would be to stay out of the line of fire as much as possible, while walking the tightrope between giving the necessary honor to the office of the presidency and at the same time not fawning over the strangest president in American history. The only thing we know about Trump’s policy regarding Israel is that it could change at any time. Trump may be no better or worse than any of his modern-day predecessors, except that due to the alarming lack of stability emanating from his fickle presidency, he’s a liability for Israel.
U.S. President Donald Trump may use his upcoming visit to Israel to announce the resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Quoting senior Palestinian officials, the report said preparations for a summit including the American president, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas were underway. According to the report, officials say Trump is likely to set a timetable of between nine months and a year for the peace talks. It was unclear whether Israel and the Palestinians are expected to reach a full agreement or merely mark significant breakthroughs during this time frame. Abbas, who met with Trump in Washington last week, said Tuesday that he is willing to meet Netanyahu under the auspices of the American president. “I stressed before President Trump that under his auspices I am open to cooperating and to meeting with the Israeli prime minister in order to make peace”, Abbas said. “I pledged our full cooperation in the war on terror and extremism in our region and across the globe”. Also on Tuesday, David Friedman, the new U.S. ambassador to Israel said he would arrive in the country on May 15 to begin his tenure. Friedman also said it was his hope to work from Jerusalem, amid the backdrop of Trump’s declaration of intent to transfer the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to the capital.
The first thing the Palestinian Authority must do to prove it is committed to making peace with Israel is stop rewarding terrorism and stop payments to terrorists and the families of terrorists, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Sean Hannity of Fox News in an exclusive weekend interview. The prime minister told Hannity: “This is the crazy thing: They pay terrorists on a sliding scale, not on the cost of living, but on the cost of killing. The more you kill, the more you get. And it accumulates to vast sums, some of it contributed by Americans, by European governments”. Abbas, to his own people he says, ‘We don’t want a state next to Israel, we want a state instead of Israel”. The prime minister explained that the fact that “many in the region are threatened by that same Iran, and would be immeasurably threatened more by a nuclear-armed Iran” has brought many countries in the region to a “different thinking about Israel”. “The greatest challenge is the challenge of militant Islam of both kinds, the Shiite variety led by Iran, the Sunni variety led by ISIS [the Islamic State]. Both have to be rolled back, but of the two, the greater long-term change is from Iran. It’s a country of 80 million, it’s got oil. It’s developing submarines, it’s developing precision-guided rockets and missiles. It’s developing nuclear weapons, down the line. Satellites”, Netanyahu said, adding that power of that kind in the hands of a “militant Islamic regime” posed a threat to the entire world.