Orient Express: Trump travels to Israel to discuss peace process
US President will tour Tel Aviv and Jerusalem today, after a weekend in Ryadh, prioritizing trade deals over human rights concerns. During his visit to Israel,…
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Last Friday, President Donald Trump begun his first official trip abroad, making sure to stop at the main capitals of world monotheist religions (Islam, Judaism, Christianism) and to confirm old US allies.
His first stop was Saudi Arabia- world’s leading oil producer and a country where human rights are largely violated - where he closed important trading deals, which included infrastructure and “guns”.
Today, the President is expected to visit Jerusalem, in Israel, the capital of Judaism, and a main US ally. Since he took office, in January, Trump has said that “ brokering a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians could be easier than people have thought – though it is a goal that eluded his predecessors,”, as reported by Associated Press.
Trump is expected to meet the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a conservative that defends the controversial Israeli settlements in the so called occupied territory. The two leaders already met in Washington on February but the meeting ended with no clear conclusion on what is the US President’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
On Tuesday, Trump is expected to meet the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and visit Bethlehem and the West Bank.
The US is Israel’s most important ally, providing it with more than $3bn in defence aid annually.
Confirming lucrative defence trade deals is definitely part of Trump’s agenda on his first trop abroad.
In Saudi Arabia,on the one hand, the Trump administration helped line up $110 billion worth of arms deals. According to the New York Times, Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law, “personally called the chief executive of Lockheed Martin to cut the price of a radar system.
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia revealed plans to Invest $20 Billion in Infrastructure, mostly in U.S.
In Saudi Arabia, President Donald Trump also took the occasion to say send some incendiary language on Islam and called on Muslim leaders to step up their efforts to counter extremism, focusing especially on Iran.
Next to Trump was secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former CEO of Exxon mobile, an oil multinational. He said that the Trump administration hopes Tehran “restores the rights of Iranians to freedom of speech, to freedom of organization, so that Iranians can live the life that they deserve.”
Many leaders embraced the new tone on the president’s first overseas trip in office. For one, Egypt’s president complimented Mr. Trump on his “unique personality.”
According to the New York Times, Mr. Trump signaled a return to a U.S. policy built on alliances with Arab autocrats, prioritizing trade over human rights concerns and further distancing Washington from Iran.