Trump embraces Israel, but Russian ties still trail him

Posted May 28, 2017

"President Trump said several times he's going to put a lot of effort into this track of trying to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but he didn't say how", said Gilead Sher, a Tel Aviv lawyer who was Israel's chief peace negotiator in the late 1990s.

With the Middle East leg of his trip complete, Trump arrived in Italy Tuesday.

The $110 billion arms deal signed by US and Saudi leaders last week was a component of $350 billion in economic and military investments between the two countries over the next 10 years, according to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

President Donald Trump on Saturday said his maiden first trip overseas was a "home run" and he vowed to overcome the threat of terrorism, concluding a grueling five-stop sprint that ended with the promise of an imminent decision on the much-discussed Paris climate accord. In solidarity with captives, Palestinians in Jerusalem announced a strike on Tuesday."President Trump is really, really serious and he thinks peace is possible"."The Saudis have been, of course, the leading funder of Sunni Islamic terrorism, which Trump would not dare to say", he noted.

Trump was cajoled for three days - first in Brussels at meetings of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union, then in Sicily for G-7 - but will leave Italy without making clear where he stands.

While the unpredictable Trump completed the visit to the region without committing a major gaffe, his approach "swept away the entire Obama legacy with the wave of a hand", said Thierry Coville, an Iran expert at the French Institute for global and Strategic Affairs.

He also said Iran would continue a ballistic missile program that has already triggered USA sanctions, saying it was for defensive purposes only.

Yet an excessive reinforcement of the encirclement of Iran could raise tensions and anti-U.S. sentiment.

As the Netanyahus welcomed the Trumps to Israel, Sara was overheard telling Melania that media criticism of her and her husband does not reflect the feelings of the Israeli people.

Yemen. A US -backed Saudi war has reduced Yemen to a smoking wasteland. "And that would be in the interest neither of the United States nor of the Middle East", Obama told The Atlantic a year ago, explaining his policy.

He said the summit in Saudi Arabia "had no political value, and will bear no results". Trump appeared to have learned that lesson.

While it was Israel that Trump lavished with praise, in the end neither side got all it wanted.

Trump's departure from Obama's emphasis on cooperation with Iran was welcomed by his Israeli hosts. He repeatedly promised that if elected, he would withdraw or renegotiate the deal. There may be further anti-American backlash in Iran. But that is not remotely sufficient to actually influence Israeli policymakers - who accurately viewed his election as an even larger blank check, and stepped up the pace of new settlement-building accordingly. "President Trump and President Abbas agreed to continue their discussions on the issue of payments to Palestinian prisoners and the need to improve the Palestinian economy".

While Netanyahu celebrated this stark reversal in US policy, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani objected to Trump's rhetoric. "Iran's leaders routinely call for Israel's destruction". Netanyahu was among the fiercest critics of the nuclear deal, arguing that it would not prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability and ignored Tehran's other provocative behavior.

Another terror group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, held a demonstration in Gaza City Tuesday, pointing rifles at an effigy of Trump and declaring he was unwelcome in the the West Bank town of Bethlehem.