Thursday, 27 April 2017
Trump expected to visit Israel May 22
Even before official confirmation by the White House of the expected visit to Israel by US President Donald Trump in late May, the champagne bottles are already being readied in Jerusalem, Walla! News reports. The likely date is May 22. Israelis had to wait five years to greet the previous president, while watching him tour other capitals around the world, including nearby ones, without even a short trip to the Holy Land.
Like Trump, Obama also visited the Middle East less than six months after taking office, but he skipped visiting Jerusalem, and the highlight of his first journey in 2009 was his speech in Cairo, in which he held out an olive branch to the Muslim world. Eight years later, Trump is likely to give Israelis a compensatory experience and honor them with his visit, accompanied by his photogenic family on their first overseas trip from the White House.
An official US delegation for coordinating the logistical aspects of the visit landed in Israel today, but informed sources emphasized yesterday that the visit was not yet definite. The US administration confirmed that the possibility of a visit to Israel was being considered, but no final confirmation has been issued. Even if the visit does not materialize, however, Trump's message is clear and emphatic: "I am not Obama."
In late May, the time of his planned visit to Israel, Trump will cross the borders of the US for the first time since being sworn in as president last January. During the corresponding period of his term in office eight years ago, Obama had already visited nine countries, including Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Turkey, Iraq, and Mexico. When he had just taken office, Obama was a sought-after guest for all the leaders of close US allies in the world - something that is not the case with Trump. Israel is the perfect destination for Trump to launch his globetrotting: an ally with a friendly administration that is sure to embrace him warmly.
Before the red carpet is rolled out at Ben Gurion Airport, Trump has a dramatic meeting next week, and the possibility that a final decision about the visit will come only after this meeting cannot be excluded. Jerusalem is tensely following the preparations for the arrival of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas at the White House on Wednesday and the first direct meeting between him and the new president. Trump's meeting with Abbas is the last in a series of meetings conducted with all the leaders in the region in recent months: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, King Abdullah, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad bin-Salman. The meetings took place in parallel with the intensive work of US Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on April 27, 2017
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