The Latest: Mideast politics at Trump’s Israeli greeting – Washington Post

TEL AVIV, Israel — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s first trip abroad (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

As President Donald Trump shook hands with Israeli Cabinet ministers and dignitaries, it didn’t take long for Mideast politics to make their way into the presidential visit.

Israel Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the nationalist Jewish Home Party, told the president that the time has come for the U.S. to recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel.

On the campaign trail, Trump promised to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He has backed away from that promise since taking office, saying the issue needs more study.

Israel captured east Jerusalem 50 years ago and claims the area — home to sensitive Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy sites — as part of its capital. The Palestinians also claim east Jerusalem as their capital.

It was not immediately clear how Trump responded to Bennett.

___

1:25 p.m.

A lawmaker from Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party whipped out his cellphone and pushed himself into a selfie with President Donald Trump.

Backbencher Oren Hazan nudged himself into the line of Israeli dignitaries greeting Trump upon his arrival at the airport in Tel Aviv. After shaking Trump’s hand, Hazan said “I wish I could do a selfie with you.” Trump responded “What?” but an undeterred Hazan took out his phone and posed alongside an unamused Trump.

Netanyahu was unsuccessful at pushing aside the wayward lawmaker’s arm.

In his two years in office, Hazan has generated much outrage for his antics. He’s faced accusations of assaulting a public official, sexually harassing women, pimping prostitutes and providing drugs to tourists at a Bulgarian casino.

___

1:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump says peace in the Middle East can be achieved only by working together. He says, “there is no other way.”

Trump spoke during a brief airport ceremony after he arrived in Israel on his first visit as president.

Since taking office in January, Trump has been bullish about wanting to help Israelis and Palestinians achieve a peace that so far has been elusive. Trump meets later in the day with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

On Tuesday, Trump sits down with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (mahk-MOOD’ ah-BAHS’).

At the airport, Trump urged both sides to take advantage of the “rare opportunity” that he says currently exists under his administration to bring security, stability and peace to the region and its people.

___

1 p.m.

Israel’s prime minister has praised President Donald Trump’s “clarity and conviction” in his speech in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

In the speech, Trump laid out a call to combat Islamic radicalism.

At an airport greeting ceremony, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel has been at the front line of the fight against terrorism for decades.

At the same time, he says Israel welcomes Trump’s push for peace, and its hand is extended in peace “to all neighbors, including the Palestinians.”

___

12:55 p.m.

Trump’s visit to Israel began with a lighthearted moment.

Trump landed at Israel’s international airport in Tel Aviv and was greeted by Israel’s president, prime minister and their wives after descending the stairs from Air Force One.

Walking along a red carpet before the national anthems were played, Trump asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “What is the protocol?”

Throwing up his hands, Netanyahu replied: “Who knows?”

___

12:50 p.m.

Iran’s foreign minister has accused President Donald Trump of using foreign policy as an excuse for selling billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted “Iran-fresh from real elections-attacked by US President Donald Trump in that bastion of democracy and moderation. Foreign policy or milking KSA of $480B?” KSA is an abbreviation for Kingdom of Saudia Arabia.

Meanwhile, official IRNA news agency said the foreign ministry spokesman, Bahram Ghasemi, strongly condemned the promotion of Iran-phobia by the U.S. “Washington stops policies such warmongering, interventions, Iran-phobia and selling dangerous and useless weapons to main terrorists supporters.”

Trump and Saudi King Salman signed agreements Saturday cementing their countries’ military and economic partnerships.

The agreements include a military sales deal of about $110 billion, effective immediately, plus another $350 billion over the next 10 years.

___

12:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump is opening his first visit to Israel as president.

Air Force One touched down in Tel Aviv Monday morning. Israel is the second leg of Trump’s first foreign trip, an ambitious five-stop swing through the Middle East and Europe.

The president will meet Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He’ll also visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall, an important Jewish holy site.

On Tuesday, Trump will meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. White House advisers have downplayed the prospects of a breakthrough on the jumpstarting the Middle East peace process during the president’s trip.

From Israel, Trump will head to the Vatican for an audience with Pope Francis. He’ll close his trip with summit meetings in Brussels and Sicily.

___

10:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s flight from Riyadh to Tel Aviv may make history as the first direct flight between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

The president is set to land at Ben Gurion International Airport on Monday for a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

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.

__

10:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump is closing the first leg of his maiden overseas trip.

Trump departed Saudi Arabia on Monday morning after two days of meetings in the ultra-conservative desert kingdom.

The president next heads to Israel, where he’ll meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Trump will be testing the waters for jumpstarting the dormant Middle East peace process, though White House officials have tamped down prospects for a breakthrough on the trip.

Trump’s trip will also take him to the Vatican, Brussels and Sicily.

__

7:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump has declared in the past that finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is “maybe not as difficult as people have thought.”

And now he will make his first visit to Israel full of promises but with few concrete ideas of solving the problem that has vexed presidents for decades.

Trump, fresh off two days in Saudi Arabia, will journey to Jerusalem on Monday and his stay will include separate meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Trump also planned to visit the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem and the Western Wall, an important Jewish holy site.

Despite the president’s claim, White House aides have tried to play down expectations for significant progress on the peace process during Trump’s stop.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments

Write a Reply or Comment:

Your email address will not be published.*