Trump's High-Stakes Israel Visit Has Amusing Start

His flight may have been first between Israel, Saudi Arabia
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2017 5:35 AM CDT
Updated May 22, 2017 5:42 AM CDT
Big Issues Loom Over Trump's Israel Visit
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump disembark Air Force One on arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport, Monday, May 22, 2017, in Tel Aviv.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Trump's visit to Israel started with an amusing moment Monday: After getting off Air Force One at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport and walking along a red carpet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump asked "What is the protocol?" and Netanyahu responded "I don't know," the AP reports. But with multiple serious issues to deal with, there may not be many more opportunities to joke during Trump's two-day visit to Israel and Palestinian territories. A roundup of coverage:

  • NBC looks at five issues expected to loom over the visit. They are Trump's sharing of Israeli intelligence, his controversial visit to the Western Wall, uncertainty over the proposed move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, and plans to build a new coalition including the US, Israel, and Sunni Arab states.

  • The BBC looks at Trump's chances of brokering a peace agreement that he has called the "ultimate deal."
  • Preparations for Trump's visit have caused even more bickering among members of Netanyahu's ruling coalition than usual, the New York Times reports. The PM reportedly had to order members of his cabinet to attend Trump's airport welcome after learning that most of them planned to skip it.
  • The AP notes that Trump's journey on Monday may have been the first-ever direct flight between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
  • Reuters reports that the day before Trump's arrival, the Israeli government granted some economic concessions that it says "will ease daily civilian life in the Palestinian Authority" after Trump "asked to see some confidence-building steps."
  • The Jerusalem Post reports that the Trump visit is making history in at least three ways, one of which is his visit to the Western Wall, which other American presidents have avoided because they didn't want to send a message about Israeli sovereignty over the disputed territory.
  • Haaretz reports that Trump spoke on the airport tarmac after arriving in Israel. "On my first trip overseas as president, I have come to this sacred and ancient land to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between us and Israel," he said.
(More President Trump stories.)

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