WH: Trump will Reinforce Strong Alliance, Talk Peace on Israel Trip
Photo credit: Kobi Gideon (GPO)
President Donald Trump will visit Israel later this month after visiting Saudi Arabia, his first foreign trip since taking office in January.
“Tolerance is the cornerstone of peace,” Trump said during an event in the White House’s Rose Garden. “That is why I am proud to make a major and historic announcement this morning and share with you that my first foreign trip as president will be to Saudi Arabia, then Israel, then the Vatican in Rome.”
A senior administration official said the planning started shortly after the elections after being approached by Saudi Arabia wanting to reset warm relations with the U.S. Administration.
Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia, according to the WH official, will focus on trying to reach an understanding with Arab leaders on joint “long-term” goals to achieve peace and stability in the Middle East.
In Israel, Trump will “reinforce the strong alliance that we have with the Israeli people, and then we are going to talk a little bit about the peace process with the Palestinians and how we plan to go forward.”
The official did not provide any specific details and refused to say whether or not Trump will work to arrange a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas while on the trip. “We are hoping to achieve peace between now and then,” the official said. “We will approach it with a lot of humility. The President is very involved in [discussing] a lot of ideas.”
In a statement, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump will discuss with President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Netanyahu “a range of regional issues, including the need to counter the threats posed by Iran and its proxies, and by ISIS and other terrorist groups” and “discuss ways to advance a genuine and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.”
Trump will also meet with Abbas “to discuss ways to advance peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, as well as efforts to unlock the potential of the Palestinian economy,” Spicer said.