One of the biggest criticisms of President Obama, at least when it came to foreign affairs, was a tense relationship with Israel. Many on the left criticize the Jewish state for their strained relationship with the Palestinians. Republicans and Donald Trump believe we must maintain strong relations with our most reliable ally in the Middle East.
Well, President Trump just did three things that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt where he stands.
First, the president travelled from Saudi Arabia to Israel. While this may come as a surprise, no one on record has ever done this. Saudi Arabia and Israel have no diplomatic relations. Travelers are forbidden from flying from one country to the other. Planes aren’t even allowed to travel through their airspace. Past presidents have been shy about addressing this because separately both countries are important allies to the United States.
But Trump doesn’t care:
“That’s what makes President Trump’s itinerary so interesting. He made Saudi Arabia his first stop, which no doubt greatly pleased the Saudi royal family. Then he flew from Riyadh directly to Tel Aviv, which no doubt made them furious.
“In order to travel from one nation to the other requires travelers to take what many call a “cleansing stop.” Often, flyers go to Amman, Jordan, or Cairo, Egypt, before heading on. And travelers who stop in Israel before heading to Saudi Arabia often ask Israeli officials not to stamp their passports (Saudis authorities get visibly unhappy when they see the stamp). Some frequent fliers even have an extra passport so they can keep one clear of the Israeli stamp.
“‘Saudi Arabia doesn’t recognize Israel and the two states don’t have diplomatic relations. There are no direct flights between the two countries and flights from either country bypass the other’s airspace. An Israel Airport Authority spokesman says that he was not aware of any direct flights ever having landed in Israel from the kingdom,‘ the AP said.”
If that was the only thing the president did in the Middle East, it would have been groundbreaking enough. But What Trump just did in Israel is also turning heads. Trump is the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Western Wall, one of the holiest sites for the Jewish people:
“The US and Israeli sides have clashed in recent days over the status of Jerusalem, after the White House refused to say whether it considered the Western Wall, one of Judaism’s holiest sites, to be part of Israel.
“The flare-up forced Mr Netanyahu to declare on Sunday that the Western Wall will “always be under Israeli sovereignty” and would never be given up during any peace talks.
“Mr Trump will become the first sitting US president ever to go to the Western Wall today, but the White House pointedly refused to let Mr Netanyahu join on the visit, fearing that the Israeli prime minister’s presence would make it look like the US was acknowledging Israeli sovereignty.”
And finally, Israel approved measures to improve the Palestinian economy and help border relations at the specific request of President Trump:
“Israeli ministers have approved measures aimed at improving the Palestinian economy and facilitating crossings, rare moves said to be at Donald Trump’s request hours ahead of the US president’s arrival.
“An Israeli official told AFP on condition of anonymity that ministers were responding to a Trump request to present him with ‘confidence-building measures’ ahead of his talks with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Tuesday.
“In a statement, Trump’s administration welcomed the moves, saying he ‘has been encouraging both sides to take steps that improve the environment for peace making.’
“‘He has expressed particular interest in taking steps to improve the Palestinian economy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.'”
Of course all you’ll hear today from the mainstream media is Russia, Russia, and Russia. Meanwhile, the president is knocking it out of the park in his first foreign visit.