Trump arrives in Israel, hoping to rekindle peace process – Los Angeles Times

President Trump arrived in Israel Monday in the earliest-ever visit by U.S. leader in their presidential term.

Trump aims to use a two-day visit to further his quest for what he has called the ultimate deal — jump-starting peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

“We have before us a rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace to this region and to its people, defeating terrorism and creating a future of harmony, prosperity and peace. But we can only get there working together,” Trump said at an arrival ceremony at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport. “There is no other way.”

Trump will hold formal meetings Monday with Israel’s president and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, both of whom greeted Trump upon his arrival.

On Tuesday, Trump will travel to Bethlehem to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The U.S. leader said during his visit with Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia, he “found new reasons for hope” for a joint peace effort and greater coordination in the fight against terrorism.

Echoing a sentiment widely shared among Trump’s top aides, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the common threat of terrorist organizations has united Arab nations, Israel and the United States.

“I think [he] feels like there’s a moment in time here,” Tillerson told reporters traveling with the president on Air Force One. “I think the president has indicated he’s willing to put his own personal efforts into this, if the Israelis and the Palestinian leadership are ready to be serious about engaging as well.”

In his own brief remarks, Netanyahu said Israel shared Trump’s commitment to peace as outlined in the president’s address to Arab leaders.

“The peace we seek is a genuine and a durable one in which the Jewish state is recognized, security remains in Israel’s hands, and the conflict ends once and for all,” the Israeli leader said.

The president’s arrival in Tel Aviv Monday afternoon also marked a historic direct flight between Saudi Arabia and Israel, nations which do not have formal diplomatic relations.

Netanyahu, noting the significance of that flight, said one day he hoped in Israeli prime minister could fly directly to Riyadh.

Also Monday, Trump will also become the first sitting president to visit the Western Wall, as well as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. On Tuesday he will visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, and deliver a speech on the U.S.-Israeli alliance. 


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