President Donald Trump has arrived in Israel, which he will visit for two days. In fact, his flight to Israel from Saudi Arabia is the first non-stop flight between the two countries that have no diplomatic ties.
We will publish updates on Trump’s visit, a truly historic one since Israel remains our most important ally in the Middle East. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and his wife Nechama and Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife Sara greeted Trump and First Lady Melania Trump as the two descended from Air Force One.
Sara Netanyahu: “The majority of the people in Israel, unlike the media, they love us.”
It’s well known that the Netanyahu family likes the Trump family because he knows the importance of the alliance between Israel and America. We also know the media doesn’t like either one of them very much. When Sara Netanyahu met Donald and Melania at the airport, she didn’t hold back:
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 22, 2017
Trump, Netanyahu Bilateral Session
Trump and Netanyahu held a bilateral session at the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem, where Netanyahu said he and his wife felt “absolutely delighted” to have Trump and Melania with them in the “eternal capital of the Jewish people, the united capital of the Jewish faith.”
Trump assured Netanyahu “that the U.S. wants Israel to have peace” and the two countries remain “great allies. He also “pledged to work toward Israeli-Palestinian peace, but admitted it’s the “toughest deal of all.”
Trump also felt “deeply moved” during his visit to the Western Wall. The visit made him the first sitting US president to visit the holiest site in the Jewish faith:
He said “words fail to capture the experience” of visiting the Western Wall.
“It will leave an impression on me forever,” he said.
Netanyahu thanked Trump for America’s change in views in the Middle East, especially on Iran:
“I want to thank you especially today for your deep commitment to Israel’s security, its wellbeing and its future,” Netanyahu said. “I have no doubt that as we work together, you and I, the alliance between our countries will be ever stronger.”
Netanyahu then cited Trump’s strong opposition to Iran’s nuclear program and for taking action against the Assad regime in Syria for using chemical weapons.
“I want to tell you also how much we appreciate the reassertion of American leadership in the Middle East,” Netanyahu said. “I look forward to working closely with you, to confront the dangers we face together in this violent and volatile Middle East.”
Trump Tells Netanyahu He Never Mentioned Israel During Russian Meeting
Trump and Netanyahu have sat down for a bilateral session in Israel where he told the prime minister he never mentioned Israel during the meeting with Russian officials:
“Just so you understand, I never mentioned the word or the name Israel,” Trump insisted ahead of a bilateral session with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“You have another story wrong,” he said.
Trump Becomes First Sitting US President to Visit the Western Wall
— Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) May 22, 2017
— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) May 22, 2017
— Margaret Talev (@margarettalev) May 22, 2017
President, First Lady Visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
Trump Holds Bilateral Meeting With Rivlin
Trump and Rivlin held a bilateral meeting. CNN has Trump’s remarks from the meeting:
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump Arrive in Israel
Netanyahu delivered these remarks to Trump after he stepped off the plane. From Haaretz:
Netanyahu said Trump’s visit “is truly historic”: “Never before has the first foreign trip of the president of the United States included a visit to Israel.” He thanked Trump for his “powerful expression of your friendship to Israel.”
He said Israel has been fighting terrorism and protecting members of all faiths, “Christians, Muslims, everyone,” while Christians are being prosecuted elsewhere in the Middle East.
“Israel shares you commitment to peace, we’ve already made peace with Egypt Jordan,” he said. “Israel’s hand is extended in peace to all our neighbors, including the Palestinians. We seek genuine, durable peace in which Jewish state is recognized, security remains in Israel’s hands, conflict ends once and for all.”
He expressed hope one day an “Israeli prime minister will be able to fly from Tel Aviv to Riyadh.”
Haaretz has Trump’s remarks from the tarmac:
“On my first trip overseas as president, I have come to this sacred and ancient land to reaffirm unbreakable bond between us and Israel.”
“In this land so rich in history, Israel has built one of the world’s greatest civilizations, a strong resilient determined prosperous nation, forged in the commitment that will never allow horrors of last century to be repeated,” he said.
Trump said he met with leaders from across the Arab world and reached “historic agreements” in fights against terror. He said there’s a “rare opportunity” to bring security to the region, defeat terror and create harmony and peace, but said “We can only get there working together, there is no other way.”
He concluded by saying “We love Israel, we respect Israel” and conveying warm greetings from the American people.
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