Saturday, May 20, 2017
TRUMP WANTS A PEACE ACCORD-THE SAUDIS HAVE AN INITIATIVE READY TO GO.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass,(ALL THE PROPHECY SIGNS FROM THE BIBLE) then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption (RAPTURE) draweth nigh.
29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree,(ISRAEL) and all the trees;(ALL INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES)
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.(ISRAEL LITERALLY BECAME AND INDEPENDENT COUNTRY JUST BEFORE SUMMER IN MAY 14,1948.)
3 A fire devoureth (ATOMIC BOMB) before them;(RUSSIAN-ARAB-MUSLIM ARMIES AGAINST ISRAEL) and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.(ATOMIC BOMB AFFECT)
12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their eyes shall consume away in their holes,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB)(BECAUSE NUKES HAVE BEEN USED ON ISRAELS ENEMIES)(GOD PROTECTS ISRAEL AND ALWAYS WILL)
13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.(1/2-3 BILLION DIE IN WW3)(THIS IS AN ATOMIC BOMB EFFECT)
47 And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.
1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven;(FROM ATOMIC BOMBS) and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
And here are the bounderies of the land that Israel will inherit either through war or peace or God in the future. God says its Israels land and only Israels land. They will have every inch God promised them of this land in the future.
Egypt east of the Nile River, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, The southern part of Turkey and the Western Half of Iraq west of the Euphrates. Gen 13:14-15, Psm 105:9,11, Gen 15:18, Exe 23:31, Num 34:1-12, Josh 1:4.ALL THIS LAND ISRAEL WILL DEFINATELY OWN IN THE FUTURE, ITS ISRAELS NOT ISHMAELS LAND.12 TRIBES INHERIT LAND IN THE FUTURE
Trump says he hasn’t ruled out Netanyahu joining him at Western Wall-In interview ahead of visit, president confident he will be able to reach a deal quickly between Israelis and Palestinians: ‘We have the right people’-By Times of Israel staff May 19, 2017, 10:42 am
US President Donald Trump, who is scheduled to visit Israel next week, has not ruled out inviting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to join him as he visits Jerusalem’s Western Wall.“We have not yet made a final decision about my visit to the Western Wall,” Trump told the Israel Hayom newspaper in an interview Thursday. “We have great respect for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the decision to have the rabbi [of the Western Wall] accompany us was primarily because that is the custom at the site. It could still change.”Trump also told the daily that he “honestly, truly” thinks he can broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, and was non-committal on the question of moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.On Tuesday, the White House announced that Trump would not be accompanied by any Israeli officials when he visits the holy site next Tuesday.“No Israeli leaders will join President Trump to the Western Wall,” National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters at a press briefing where he outlined Trump’s schedule for his upcoming four-stop trip to the Middle East and Europe.The Western Wall, part of the retaining walls of the Second Temple compound, is the closest point of prayer for Jews to the site of the Temple itself and thus the Jewish people’s holiest place of prayer. It was captured along with the rest of the Old City and East Jerusalem in the 1967 war, and annexed by Israel as part of its united capital — a move not recognized internationally.The holy site has been at the center of a diplomatic spat between the US and Israel over the past week after an American diplomat told Israeli officials that the Western Wall was not part of Israel and not Israel’s responsibility.According to a Channel 2 TV report, the tensions were sparked when a team of Israeli officials working to coordinate Trump’s visit asked their American counterparts in a meeting early last week whether Netanyahu could accompany the president when he goes to the Western Wall, a key expected stop on his May 22-23 visit. No serving US president has ever visited the Western Wall, because US policy has been that the final status of Jerusalem has yet to be resolved in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.The US officials reportedly rejected the request for Netanyahu to join the visit, saying it would be “a private visit” by the president and that he would go on his own. The Israelis then asked whether a TV crew providing live coverage of the Trump visit could at least continue to film there.At this point, the TV report said, a senior American official, later identified as David Berns, the political counselor at the US Consulate in Jerusalem, rudely responded: “What are you talking about? It’s none of your business. It’s not even part of your responsibility. It’s not your territory. It’s part of the West Bank.”These comments led to vociferous protests by the Israelis, with the discussion descending into shouting, and the Israelis reminding the US team that the Western Wall and adjacent area “is territory holy to Israel.”After publication of the remarks on Monday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office expressed shock, sought clarifications from the White House, and said it did not believe the comments reflected Trump’s views.Shortly afterwards, the White House told The Times of Israel, “The comments about the Western Wall were not authorized communication and they do not represent the position of the United States and certainly not of the president.”In the Oval Office interview with Israel Hayom, Trump repeated his belief that he would be able to achieve a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.“I think that there is a great opportunity to reach a deal [between Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas],” the president said. “I am working very hard so that finally the Israelis and Palestinians will have peace, and I hope that this can happen quicker than anyone ever imagined.”Trump said that he believes that there is a good chance for peace because it is the right time and he has the right people negotiating a deal.“It is a great opportunity and it is good for everyone,” he said. “This deal is good for all. We have the right people working on it, [Ambassador] David Friedman and [Middle East envoy] Jason Greenblatt.”Trump refused to say whether the US would seek to impose a construction freeze in West Bank settlements. But he stressed that “I honestly, truly think that we can reach a deal.”The president also remained non-committal on whether he would fulfill his campaign promise to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.“There are many interesting things that we are working on,” he said. “We’ll speak about [the embassy] later.”Eric Cortellessa contributed to this report.
White House video shows Israel without Golan and West Bank-Clip, which was later removed, also lists Trump’s meeting in Bethlehem with PA President Mahmoud Abbas under itinerary for ‘Israel’-By Raphael Ahren May 19, 2017, 10:05 am-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
A map of Israel on a video the White House produced about US President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit showed the country without the West Bank (where Israel does not claim sovereignty) or the Golan Heights (where it has extended Israeli law).The short clip, which was meant to promote the president’s first trip abroad, highlighted five destinations in four countries he’s slated to visit: Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy (including the Vatican) and Belgium.By Friday evening the video appeared to have been removed and was no longer available.In the video, a map of Israel was shown within the pre-June 1967 ceasefire lines. During that year’s Six Day War — Israel is currently marking the war’s 50th anniversary — the Jewish state captured East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Sinai, the West Bank and the Golan.Israel has since returned the Sinai to Egypt, annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan, withdrawn from Gaza, and built large numbers of settlements in the West Bank without extending sovereignty there.The international community, including all previous US administrations, has never recognized Israeli sovereignty over any of these areas. Many Israelis might nonetheless be surprised to see that the current US administration, which has repeatedly affirmed its unwavering support of and friendship to Israel’s right-wing government, signaling its adoption of the widespread international position, especially as regards the Golan Heights.US recognition of Israel’s extension of its law over the Golan, which Israel captured from Syria, is seen as a key request Jerusalem wants to make of Trump during his visit, Israeli ministers have said.The promotional video could anger Palestinians too. While Israel was shown without the West Bank in a map, the text that listed Trump’s schedule in each location did not distinguish between the two. Trump’s planned meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem was included under the heading “Israel,” alongside his meetings with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem’s western half.Many in the international community do not consider any part of Jerusalem to be part of Israel, arguing that the city’s status must be determined through negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Previous US administrations carefully avoided stating that Jerusalem is part of Israel.In contrast, the clip spoke of “Rome & Vatican City” as opposed to merely saying “Italy.”At the United Nations General Assembly, the Vatican and the “State of Palestine” have the same status as non-member observer states.“In Jerusalem, President Trump will meet with the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, and lay a wreath at Yad Vashem. He will then deliver remarks at the Israel Museum celebrating the unique history of Israel and of the Jewish people,” a text accompanying the clip stated.“Later that day, the President will meet with the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. They will be joined by First Lady Melania Trump and Mrs. Sara Netanyahu for a private dinner. President Trump will meet the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, in Bethlehem and will urge Palestinian leaders to take productive steps toward peace. The President will also visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall.”
Israel said to be bolstering Trump’s welcome ceremony-Move comes after US president receives royal treatment upon arrival in Saudi Arabia-By Times of Israel staff and AP May 20, 2017, 9:44 pm
Israel has made last-minute changes to the airport welcome ceremony organized for visiting US President Donald Trump, adding some pomp, decorum and a speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Channel 10 reported Saturday.Trump is due to touch down at Ben Gurion Airport shortly before 12:15 p.m. on Monday. The US president was set to be received with a simple handshake ceremony on the tarmac, then taken by helicopter to his first meeting, a visit with President Reuven Rivlin at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.A last-minute decision had been made to upgrade the welcoming ceremony, Channel 10 reported, and it will now include more formalities and a speech by the Israeli leader. The TV channel aired a picture of a military band practicing on the tarmac.No reason was given for the changes, but it comes following the lavish welcome Trump was accorded when he landed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday — most notably being personally greeted by the 81-year-old King Salman, an honor not bestowed on Barack Obama.Several jets then flew overhead leaving a red, white and blue trail, while cannons boomed in welcome.This was followed by an elaborate coffee ceremony before more than a dozen horses flanked the presidential limousine as Trump was slowly driven to the Royal Court in Riyadh.Trumpets played and soldiers stood at attention as the president walked in. As he arrived, Trump told the king the spectacle was “very impressive.”Billboards featuring images of Trump and the Saudi king dotted the highways of Riyadh and lights bathed Trump’s luxury hotel in red, white and blue lights and, at times, an image of the president’s face.I'm in Riyadh and will be tweeting this weekend about Trump's visit and all the related activities. Read here: https://t.co/dSxdB03PQ8 pic.twitter.com/5BsBYSBZjw— Ben Hubbard (@NYTBen) May 19, 2017-Later, the president received a gold medal, the Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud, the country’s highest honor for “his quest to enhance security and stability in the region and around the world.”Also Saturday, Channel 2 reported that Trump’s visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum may be increased from 15 minutes to a full half an hour because the Israelis were “very offended.”Trump is set to lay a wreath at Yad Vashem at 1:00 PM Tuesday, before making his speech at the Israel Museum.The rest of Trump’s itinerary, which includes private visits to the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, is expected to continue unchanged.
Victorious Rouhani: Iran has chosen ‘path of engagement’ with the world-Re-elected Iranian president says Tehran wants peace, friendship but will not submit to ‘threat, humiliation’-By Agencies May 20, 2017, 5:39 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
TEHRAN — Iranians have chosen the “path of engagement with the world” and rejected extremism, President Hassan Rouhani said following his resounding re-election victory on Saturday.“The message of our people has been very clearly expressed. The Iranian people have chosen the path of engagement with the world, far from extremism,” he said on state television.Rouhani won 57 percent of the vote, scoring a convincing victory over hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi on 38.3%.His first comment on the win came on Twitter, which is banned by government censors but followed widely by Iranians able to get around the curbs, highlighting the limits on expression that still exist in Iran despite his promises for greater openness.“Great nation of Iran, you are the winner of the election. I humbly bow down before you. I will remain loyal to my promises to you,” he wrote.In his speech, he said that the “Iranian people want to live in peace and in friendship with the rest of the world, but will not accept any threat or humiliation.”He also took an apparent dig at regional rival Saudi Arabia, which is currently hosting US President Donald Trump.“Our people have declared to neighboring countries and the whole region that the path to ensuring security is the reinforcement of democracy and not relying on foreign powers,” he said.There were jubilant scenes in the capital Tehran, with hundreds of young people singing and dancing in the central Vali Asr Square, in spite of police efforts to move them along.Iranians flocked to the polls on Friday, with the turnout reaching 73 percent and forcing election officials to extend voting by several hours.Raisi, 56, had cast himself as a defender of the poor and called for a tougher line with the West, but his revolutionary rhetoric and promise of increased handouts gained limited traction.The result “shows that Iranian people no longer believe in economic populism and radical change,” said Ali Vaez, Iran analyst for the International Crisis Group think tank.“They have the maturity to understand that the solution to their country’s predicaments are in competent management of the economy and moderation in international relations,” Vaez told AFP.-Putin, Assad congratulate-Russia, which fights alongside Iran in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, was among the first to congratulate Rouhani.President Vladimir Putin sent a telegram confirming “his readiness to continue active joint work… in line with maintaining stability and security in the Middle East and the world as a whole”, the Kremlin said.Assad also congratulated Rouhani for earning “the trust the Iranian people gave him to continue bolstering Iran’s position”.But European and Asian officials have also welcomed Rouhani’s re-election as they pursue lucrative investments in the wake of the nuclear deal, that lifted global sanctions in exchange for curbs to Iran’s atomic programme.EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini tweeted her vow to work for greater “engagement, regional peace… (and the) expectations of people in Iran”.“A lot of investors I hadn’t heard from for three months were suddenly phoning me this morning. Some are already in the process of booking their tickets,” said Farid Dehdilani, international adviser for the Iranian Privatisation Organization.Rouhani put civil liberties at the heart of his campaign, and pointedly thanked reformist former president Mohammed Khatami, who has been banned from appearing in the media since supporting mass protests in 2009, in his acceptance speech.He pushed boundaries over the past fortnight with his veiled criticism of the conservative-dominated judiciary and security services, telling supporters: “We’ve entered this election to tell those practicing violence and extremism that your era is over.”But the economy remains Rouhani’s top priority.“Dr Rouhani will more aggressively pursue his economic agenda — investing in factories, production and absorbing foreign capital,” said Dehdilani.“I think he’ll make the cabinet younger and more agile.”Although Rouhani brought inflation down from around 40 percent when he took office in 2013, prices are still rising at nine percent a year.Oil sales have rebounded since the nuclear deal took effect in January last year, but growth in the rest of the economy has been limited, leaving unemployment at 12.5 percent overall, and at almost 30 percent among young people.“Not everyone who voted for Rouhani thought his record was excellent, but the majority decided his competitor would be even worse,” said Tehran University political researcher Foad Izadi.
Tillerson: US talks with Iran will come when timing is right-US secretary of state says he has ‘no plans’ to call his Iranian counterpart but ‘in all likelihood, we will talk at the right time’-By Eric Cortellessa May 20, 2017, 8:56 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signaled on Saturday that a renewal of US-Iranian talks are likely to occur in the future, telling reporters in Riyadh that they would take place when the time was right.“I’ve never shut off the phone to anyone that wants to talk or have a productive conversation,” he said when asked if he would speak with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. “At this point, I have no plans to call my counterpart in Iran, although in all likelihood, we will talk at the right time.”Tillerson made his remarks during a joint press conference Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir a few hours after the United States and Saudi Arabia inked an arms deal worth some $100 billion effective immediately, along with another military agreement worth $350 billion over the next 10 years.A White House officials said Saturday that “this package of defense equipment and services support the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of Iranian threats.The deal was billed as demonstrating America’s commitment to bolstering the kingdom’s “ability to contribute to counter-terrorism operations across the region, reducing the burden on the US military to conduct those operations,” according to a US official.Tillerson said a centerpiece of US President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia was to curb any threats to the region posed by Iran, adding that the deals agreed to by both sides send a “strong message to our common enemies.”The secretary of state said the US and Saudi Arabia were closely coordinating their efforts to counter Iranian extremism in the region and abroad, “particularly its support for foreign fighters,” adding that both countries were closely following how the nuclear deal signed in 2015 “could be used to contain Iran’s nuclear aspirations.”Saudi Arabia, a staunch adversary of Iran, deeply opposed the nuclear accord forged between former president Barack Obama and world powers with Tehran.Trump, who is visiting Saudi Arabia during his first stop on his first foreign trip, was a vociferous opponent of the landmark pact, repeatedly referring to it on the campaign trail as one of the worst deals ever negotiated.But since assuming office, he has been unwilling to follow through on a campaign pledge to dismantle the deal, which provides Iran sanctions relief in exchange for rolling back its nuclear program.There have also been no direct US-Iranian talks since Trump took office.Ten days into his presidency, Trump promised in a phone call to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to “rigorously enforc[e] the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” referring to the deal’s formal name, and “address Iran’s destabilizing regional activities.”A few days later, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on multiple Iranian entities and individuals after the Islamic Republic defied a United Nations Security Council resolution by launching a ballistic missile test.At the Riyadh press conference, Tillerson called on Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who won re-election earlier on Saturday, to end Iran’s role in supporting “destabilizing forces that exist in this region.”He also expressed hope that Iran ends its ballistic missile testing and restore “the rights of Iranians to freedom of speech, to freedom of organization so Iranians can live the life they deserve.”The former CEO of ExxonMobil did not mention Saudi Arabia’s record on suppressing free speech.
Pro-Israel US right starting to feel unease with Trump-Zionist Organization of America slams failure to move embassy, appointment of Obama administration official as Israel adviser-By Ron Kampeas May 19, 2017, 6:02 am-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Zionist Organization of America launched two broadsides against a Trump administration it has ardently defended, signaling a growing unease on the pro-Israel right with the president’s Israel policies.The ZOA, the flagship for the conservative pro-Israel community, slammed President Donald Trump for retreating from a campaign pledge to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It also attacked the appointment of Kris Bauman, a veteran Obama administration negotiator, as the Israel adviser on the National Security Council.Criticism of Trump from the Jewish right, while growing, is almost always accompanied by a caveat that his Israel policies are better than those of his predecessor, Barack Obama, and praise for some of his appointments.The ZOA statements came Wednesday, the same day an array of Jewish groups held a celebration in the Capitol of the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem.During the celebration Republican lawmakers – without naming the Trump administration – decried the failure to move the embassy to Jerusalem. One of those present, New York Rep. Lee Zeldin, one of two Republican Jews in Congress, later released a statement explicitly criticizing Trump and urging the move.Trump the candidate had vowed to move the embassy as one of his first acts upon assuming the presidency, but since elected has retreated from the pledge. This week, an unnamed top U.S. official told Bloomberg News that the relocation from Tel Aviv was off the table for now.The story prompted expressions of concern of varying intensity from the Jewish right.Morton Klein, the ZOA president, said in a statement that the slowness to move the embassy “sends a message of weakness” and called it “painful.”Zeldin, one Trump’s most prominent Jewish supporters during the presidential campaign, said in his statement that the Bloomberg report was “an ill-timed mistake on the part of the administration to make this decision and announcement.”Nathan Diament, the Washington director of the Orthodox Union, the umbrella group with a constituency that according to polls was lopsided in its support for Trump last year, said in an interview that those voters were likely “disappointed” with the delay.Klein in an interview Thursday offered up the caveat that he was still grateful that Trump had won the election.“This guy in his heart and soul is very pro-Israel in a serious way,” he said, naming among other appointments Nikki Haley, the outspoken US ambassador to the United Nations. “So many of us had high expectations it would be 100 percent on Israel; that might have been too high an expectation. He’s so much better than Obama or than Clinton would have been,” referring to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee.Matt Brooks, the Republican Jewish Coalition director, said Trump’s Jewish critics should keep the bigger picture in mind: His first tour overseas, next week, will include Israel and a visit to the Western Wall.“It should be comforting, and those who are critical should note the symbolism of the president doing it at this time,” he said, noting the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. “It sends a symbolic message and one that should resonate throughout the Jewish community and the international community.”Much of the pro-Israel right remains a strong area of Trump support on foreign policy. Breitbart News, with several alumni occupying key posts in the administration, has not advanced tough criticisms of the president’s Israel policy, although it has been critical of Trump on some domestic issues.Conservative groups that reviled the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, chief among them the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, are pleased with Trump’s policies. While Trump has not scrapped the deal, he has ramped up his rhetoric targeting the regime and added sanctions targeting Iran’s missile testing.Conservative pro-Israel voices — among them Klein — have been outspoken as well in defending top Trump advisers who hail from the “alt-right,” a loose assemblage of anti-establishment conservatives that includes anti-Semites but also strident defenders of Israel.Still, there are signs that unease with Trump’s Israel-related choices is deepening on the right. The tendency in Trump’s first months in office was to blame any decision that the pro-Israel right found unappealing on officials Trump did not appoint – civil service professionals whose tenure dated back to the Obama or George W. Bush administrations, or even further back.But now, some of the fire is being directed at Trump appointees. H.R. McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser, has earned opprobrium from the pro-Israel right wing for his bid to sideline Ezra Cohen-Watnick, a young NSC staffer who is known for his hard-line Iran views. Trump nixed McMaster’s decision to move Cohen-Watnick to another agency.Now fire is being directed at Bauman, whom McMaster named recently as his chief adviser on Israeli-Palestinian issues. Klein in a separate statement called Bauman, who served on the US team during the 2013-14 failed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, “pro-Hamas.”Klein based his assessment on a screed against Bauman published last week in FrontPageMag, which unearthed a 2009 academic work by Bauman citing views that recommend accommodating Hamas as a necessary evil in any negotiations toward a final status outcome. Bauman also is unstinting in describing Hamas’ brutality and terrorism in the paper.Daniel Shapiro, until January the U.S. ambassador to Israel, on Wednesday called Klein’s attacks the “lowest of low blows,” noting that Bauman’s brief was to improve security for Israel in the West Bank ahead of a final status agreement.Also troubling for the pro-Israel right has been Trump’s warmth toward the Palestinian Authority leadership, particularly P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas, whom Trump welcomed at the White House earlier this month and with whom he will meet in Bethlehem next week.“I’m disappointed he brought a guy who rewards terrorists who murder Jews to the White House,” Klein said, referring to PA subsidies for families of jailed and killed terrorists.The White House said in its readout of the Trump-Abbas meeting that Trump raised the issue of the payments and urged Abbas to stop them.
Interview / 'The warmer we’re embraced, the more confident we feel, and the more flexible we can be in peace talks'-Michael Oren’s advice for Trump: Connect with Israelis and reassure them-Ex-envoy to the US predicts president may have ‘holy cow’ moment, fully appreciate Israel’s security fears when he sees tiny country from the sky-By Raphael Ahren May 19, 2017, 6:43 am-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
Try to personally connect with the Israeli people and reassure them that the United States has Israel’s back — these are the main recommendations Deputy Minister Michael Oren has for US President Donald Trump, who is scheduled to arrive Monday for his first-ever visit to the Jewish state, where he is widely expected to push for a renewal of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.“It’s an opportunity to connect with Israel’s people, not just with Israel’s leaders. Israeli people loved to be embraced,” the US-born diplomat-cum-politician told The Times of Israel in an interview Thursday. “The warmer we’re embraced, the more confident we feel, and the more flexible we can be in peace talks.”Oren, who as Israel’s ambassador to the US played a significant role in planning the 2013 visit of then-president Barack Obama, told The Times of Israel that he does not know whether Trump will announce the relocation the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem or formally recognize the city as Israel’s united capital. Regardless of the deeper political and diplomatic fallout from the visit, the mere images of the US president praying at the Western Wall will raise his popularity among Israelis, Oren predicted.Furthermore, seeing Israel and its geographical dimensions for the first time with his own eyes will likely increase the president’s appreciation of the country’s security concerns, the deputy minister posited.“A presidential visit is an opportunity. It’s not just a pleasantry, it’s not just a show. In international diplomacy is a very powerful tool,” said Oren, a former historian who in 2008 was the only Israeli member of then-president George W. Bush’s delegation to Israel. “This is the way that the president bolsters his confidence level among the Israeli people, and because of the nature of our neighborhood and the nature of our history, we very much appreciate being reassured.”Jerusalem will be more willing to make compromises in negotiations if it feels it is in a position of strength, added Oren. “Israelis make peace because they are reassured, not because they are threatened. This visit is an opportunity to reassure the Israeli people.”Apart from seeking to establish a personal connection with the Israeli people — by, for instance, interacting with Israeli children or students — the US president should also focus on delivering a clear-cut message, Oren said.Trump should say that Israel and the United States have a historical alliance based on shared strategic interests and a deep commonality of values, and that he’s here reaffirm the White House’s vow to seek a peace deal that will provide the Jewish state with security, stability, and recognition, the deputy minister suggested.Oren said he spent many hours with Obama and his team discussing the US president’s three-day visit in March 2013. “I had many ideas for the Obama visit. One of them was that he should play basketball at a high school on the periphery,” he recalled. But this proposal was ultimately dismissed due to time constraints and security concerns. “It’s very difficult for the president to get out of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv corridor,” Oren said.Obama did, however, heed Jerusalem’s recommendation to use his visit to make plain that Israel is a Jewish state, Oren said.“That seems obvious, but in 2009 at the Cairo speech Obama said that Israel exists because of the Holocaust,” he said, referring to an address in which the president said the “aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.”The juxtaposition of the Holocaust and Israel’s creation “proved yet another obstacle to peace, because why should the Arabs make peace with an artificial entity that the Europeans created on Palestinian soil to house European-Jewish refugees from the Holocaust that the Europeans perpetrated,” Oren said. “That’s the Arab narrative. Obama, in subsequent years, went to significant length to rectify that mistake. He used the opportunity of being here in Israel to demonstrate physically that Israel is a Jewish state.”Obama’s itinerary included the laying of a wreath at Theodor Herzl’s grave, thus acknowledging the founder of political Zionism who died before the Holocaust, and a viewing of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which show a Jewish connection to the Land of Israel dating back thousands of years.Obama also met a children’s choir at the President’s Residence, which Oren described as a “very moving moment” that greatly contributed to the visit’s success in raising the president’s approval rating among Israelis.Trump’s working visit is much shorter and may not allow for many such interactions. Oren, however, is convinced that the president will boost his popularity in Israel, despite current developments that appear to cast a shadow over the visit, such as Trump’s reportedly compromising Israeli assets by leaking sensitive intelligence to Russia, or his ostensible refusal to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.The deputy minister also dismissed concerns over Trump’s insistence on visiting the Western Wall without any Israeli official by his side and the refusal of senior US administration officials to state whether the holy site is part of Israel. Recent speculation and spats over the White House’s position on sovereignty in East Jerusalem — mostly a matter for “foreign policy geeks” — will be marginalized by the sheer power of the images the US president’s visit there will elicit, he maintained.“The sight of the president of the United States with a kippah on his head at the kotel is a powerful message to Israelis,” Oren said. “We cannot underestimate the depths of Israelis’ sense of threatened security in our region. In some cases it’s subliminal; we might not feel it walking down the streets of Tel Aviv or on Independence Day as our jets fly over. But it’s there, and when the president of the United States comes here and makes a show of love and support for Israel, you’re going to see a bump up, not a bump down, in his popularity.”Even if Trump stops short of announcing the embassy’s relocation, his visit next week will have a tangible positive impact on Israel’s security when he sees the country’s sheer smallness, Oren argued. As opposed to most senior American politicians, the 70-year-old president has never been to Israel. After landing Monday at Ben Gurion Airport, he is scheduled to fly via helicopter to Jerusalem.“Seeing the actual dimension of Israel is shocking to people,” the former ambassador said, recalling taking senior US officials on helicopter rides over Israel. “They understand our security concerns much more. ‘Wow, this place is tiny. Wait, a minute, that’s the West Bank, and that’s the sea? Let’s me get this straight: that’s all there is of Israel?’ It’s literally that moment, that holy cow moment. I’ve see it again and again.”Michael Oren is the next guest in our Times of Israel Presents series. He will be interviewed in Jerusalem by David Horovitz on May 28. Tickets available HERE.
LAND FOR PEACE (THE FUTURE 7 YEARS OF HELL ON EARTH)
2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people(ISRAEL) and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.(UPROOTED ISRAELIS AND DIVIDED JERUSALEM)(THIS BRINGS ON WW3 BECAUSE JERUSALEM IS DIVIDED,WARNING TO ARABS-MUSLIMS AND THE WORLD).
THE WEEK OF DANIEL 9:27 WE KNOW ITS 7 YRS
Heres the scripture 1 week = 7 yrs Genesis 29:27-29
27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.
28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week:(7 YEARS) and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.
29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.
21 And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.
23 And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.
24 He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time.
26 And after threescore and two weeks(62X7=434 YEARS+7X7=49 YEARS=TOTAL OF 69 WEEKS OR 483 YRS) shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary;(ROMAN LEADERS DESTROYED THE 2ND TEMPLE) and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.(THERE HAS TO BE 70 WEEKS OR 490 YRS TO FUFILL THE VISION AND PROPHECY OF DAN 9:24).(THE NEXT VERSE IS THAT 7 YR WEEK OR (70TH FINAL WEEK).
27 And he ( THE ROMAN,EU PRESIDENT) shall confirm the covenant (PEACE TREATY) with many for one week:(1X7=7 YEARS) and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,(3 1/2 yrs in TEMPLE ANIMAL SACRIFICES STOPPED) and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
14 They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.
11 For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.
1 THESSALONIANS 5:3
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
8 The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant,(7 YR TREATY) he hath despised the cities, he regardeth no man.(THE WORLD LEADER-WAR MONGER CALLS HIMSELF GOD)
20 And Isaac was forty years old (A BIBLE GENERATION NUMBER=1967 + 40=2007+) when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.
21 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
22 And the children (2 NATIONS IN HER-ISRAEL-ARABS) struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.
23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels;(ISRAEL AND THE ARABS) and the one people shall be stronger than the other people;(ISRAEL STRONGER THAN ARABS) and the elder shall serve the younger.(LITERALLY ISRAEL THE YOUNGER RULES (ISSAC)(JACOB-LATER NAME CHANGED TO ISRAEL) OVER THE OLDER ARABS (ISHMAEL)(ESAU)
24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.(THE OLDER AN ARAB)
26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob:(THE YOUNGER-ISRAELI) and Isaac was threescore (60) years old when she bare them.(1967 + 60=2027)(COULD BE THE LAST GENERATION WHEN JERUSALEM IS DIVIDED AMOUNG THE 2 TWINS)(THE 2 TWINS WANT JERUSALEM-THE DIVISION OF JERUSALEM TODAY)(AND WHOS IN CONTROL OF JERUSALEM TODAY-THE YOUNGER ISSAC-JACOB-ISRAEL)(AND WHO WANTS JERUSALEM DIVIDED-THE OLDER,ESAU-ISHMAEL (THE ARABS)
ZECHARIAH 12:1-5 King James Bible
1 The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.
2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
4 In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness.
ISAIAH 28:14-19 (THIS IS THE 7 YR TREATY COVENANT OF DANIEL 9:27)
14 Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.
15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:
16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.
17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.
18 And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.
19 From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report.
23 And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king (EU DICTATOR) of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences,(FROM THE OCCULT) shall stand up.
24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power:(SATANS POWER) and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.
25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes;(JESUS) but he shall be broken without hand.
36 And the king shall do according to his will;(EU PRESIDENT) and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers,(THIS EU DICTATOR IS A EUROPEAN JEW) nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.
38 But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces:(HES A MILITARY GINIUS) and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.
39 Thus shall he do in the most strong holds (CONTROL HEZBOLLAH,AL-QUAIDA MURDERERS ETC) with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many,(HIS ARMY LEADERS) and shall divide the land for gain.
40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south(EGYPT) push at him:(EU DICTATOR PROTECTING ISRAELS SECURITY) and the king of the north(RUSSIA) shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.(WW3,1/2 earths population die).
ISAIAH 13:6-13 KJV
6 Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.
7 Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt:(FROM FRIGHT)
8 And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames.
9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.
11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.
13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.
ISAIAH 24:17-23 KJV
17 Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth.
18 And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake.
19 The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly.
20 The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.
21 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth.
22 And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.
23 Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.
Saudi FM: Trump can broker Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, and we’ll help-Speaking on behalf of Saudi monarch, Adel al-Jubeir hails US president’s ‘vision’ and ‘decisiveness’; says kingdom prepared to work with US toward accord-By Times of Israel staff and Agencies May 20, 2017, 8:07 pm
Saudi Arabia is confident in US President Donald Trump’s abilities to conclude a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians and Riyadh is prepared to help, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Saturday evening, during a press conference with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.Jubeir spoke of the “kingdom’s optimism that President Trump, with a new approach and determination, can bring a conclusion to this long conflict. He certainly has the vision, and we believe he has the strength and the decisiveness. And the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stands prepared to work with the United States in order to bring about peace between Israelis and Palestinians and Israelis and Arabs.”The Saudi FM said he was speaking on behalf of the king following an earlier meeting between the US President and the Saudi monarch.Jubeir said Saudi Arabia stresses the “importance of working toward peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”The US president’s visit in Saudi Arabia on Saturday presented a “turning point in relationship between the United States and the Islamic world,” said Jubeir, hailing a number of military and commercial agreements that were signed earlier in the day, including a $100 billion arms deal that will take effect immediately and some private sector agreements.The military package includes tanks, combat ships, missile defense systems, radar and communications, and cybersecurity technology.Trump earlier called the first day of his maiden international trip “tremendous.” He said the deals signed with Riyadh would lead to “tremendous investments” in the United States.He said the deals will also create “jobs, jobs, jobs.”Trump, Tillerson and senior White House aides arrived in Saudi Arabia earlier Saturday on the first leg of a regional trip that will see the president make his way to Israel and the West Bank next and Europe after that.Trump has repeatedly indicated that he would like to broker a peace deal and in an interview Thursday with the Israel Hayom newspaper said he “honestly, truly” thinks he can do so.The president is reportedly working on a bid to restart peace talks between the two sides.In 2002, Saudi Arabia proposed a deal that would offer Israel normalized relations with the Arab world in exchange for a withdrawal from the lands Israel captured in the 1967. The Arab Peace Initiative was not embraced by Israel, whose governments expressed a number of reservations.
Analysis / Trump wants a peace accord. The Saudis have an initiative ready to go-Warmth and scale of Trump-Saudi embrace could spell trouble for Netanyahu-Full of flattery, the Saudis say they believe the visionary, strong, decisive US president can cut a peace deal, and they’re ready to help. But their formula is anathema to the Israeli government-By David Horovitz May 20, 2017, 10:25 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
Donald Trump will be making history from the moment he takes off from Riyadh to Tel Aviv on Monday — by flying the direct route from the Saudi capital to the Jewish state for the first time.He’ll make history a second time when he becomes the first serving US president to visit the Western Wall — the holiest place of prayer for the Jewish people.His Saudi hosts on Saturday asserted their confidence that he can make more abiding and substantive history by brokering an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord.The kingdom, said Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir at a press conference with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, is optimistic that Trump, “with a new approach and determination, can bring a conclusion to this long conflict. He certainly has the vision, and we believe he has the strength and the decisiveness.”Furthermore, said al-Jubeir, “the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stands prepared to work with the United States in order to bring about peace between Israelis and Palestinians and Israelis and Arabs.”The personal praise and deference to Trump — the fact that elderly King Salman came to the airport to greet the president, and reached out to shake the hand of the bare-headed First Lady Melania — underlined that, like Mahmoud Abbas at the White House earlier this month, the Saudis have recognized the importance of keeping on the new US leader’s good side, and maximizing the flattery.It’s a tactic that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is doubtless observing with dismay, although not surprise.Whatever Netanyahu had hoped for — or expected of — the new administration, the fact is that the president has not yet moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, has not moved to scrap the US-led nuclear deal with Iran, and has not given Jerusalem carte blanche on settlement building.The president has, by contrast, hosted Abbas at the White House and made plans to meet him again this week in Bethlehem. He has showered Abbas with compliments, including by hailing the ongoing US-Palestinian partnership on regional security and counterterrorism — remarks that must have had them tearing out their hair at the PMO.And now, the president has signed a staggeringly large series of economic deals with Saudi Arabia — worth in excess of $380 billion over the next 10 years, with almost a third of that sum, over $110 billion, comprising arms sales. Just by way of perspective, it’s worth bearing in mind that the endlessly discussed US-Israel memorandum of understanding on US “security assistance” to Israel, finally signed last September with the Obama administration, is worth some $38 billion over the coming decade.The Trump administration has promised to ensure that Israel maintains its qualitative military advantage in the region. But the arms deals announced Saturday will give the Saudis access to extremely advanced weaponry, in extremely large quantities. And as Tillerson and Jubeir stressed repeatedly, the deals profoundly deepen the relationship between their two countries, and their mutual commitment to each other’s defense.-Israel will be internalizing the sway and leverage in the US that this deepened relationship could give the Saudis-Israel might take some comfort in the pledge expressed by Tillerson to work closely with the Saudis in confronting the pernicious influence of Iran across the region — to curb Tehran’s aggression, its support for terrorism, its intervention in the affairs of other Middle Eastern nations.But as Trump hailed the “tremendous” deals, providing “hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs,” Israel will also be internalizing the sway and leverage in the US that this deepened relationship could give the Saudis.It is gratifying to hear a Saudi foreign minister speaking openly and easily about Israel, and promising readiness to help toward peace, just as it has been gratifying in the past year or two to see Saudi leaders and officials occasionally sharing forums with leading Israelis and even, in the case of one Saudi general, visiting Israel, meeting officials and Knesset members, and sending out pictures of his encounters.But the Saudis have a very clear view on the parameters of Israeli-Palestinian peace and Israeli-Arab peace. It’s known as the Arab Peace Initiative or the Saudi Peace Initiative. Unveiled in 2002, it was reaffirmed just weeks ago at an Arab League summit, where Trump’s envoy Jason Greenblatt was on hand meeting various Arab leaders.And, to date, the Netanyahu government has rejected it as a framework for negotiations, citing, among other concerns, opposition to the notion of an Israeli return to some version of the pre-1967 lines, and to the Initiative’s wording on the issue of Palestinian refugees.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is acutely aware of the dangers of saying no to President Trump. To a president who has already told him to hold back a little on the settlements. To a president who says he believes he can “honestly, truly” cut an Israeli-Palestinian deal “quicker than anyone ever imagined.”It is highly unlikely that Netanyahu has lately become an adherent of the Saudi-led Arab Peace Initiative. The prime minister will, therefore, be watching anxiously right now, as the heavily US-invested Saudis give Trump the most royal of welcomes. And he will be wondering how successful they will be in persuading the president to rely on their peace initiative as the basis for the deal with which Trump intends to make Israeli-Palestinian history.
Trump receives royal welcome, honors from Saudi leader-King Salman bestows US president with country’s highest civilian medal as entourage is greeted with pomp and circumstance-By Julie Pace and Jonathan Lemire May 20, 2017, 2:58 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — US President Donald Trump received Saudi Arabia’s highest civilian honor from Saudi King Salman Saturday and was greeted with a royal welcome by the Arab nation’s ruler, as he began his first trip abroad.The king placed the Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud around Trump’s neck at a ceremony at the Royal Court in Riyadh.The host of the event declared that Trump was being honored for “his quest to enhance security and stability in the region and around the world.”The honor has also been bestowed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.Trump was joined by first lady Melania Trump and several senior White House aides who were interspersed with Saudi officials throughout a grand ballroom.More than a dozen horses flanked the presidential limousine Saturday as Trump was slowly driven to the Royal Court in Riyadh.Trumpets played and soldiers stood at attention as the president walked in. As he arrived, Trump told the king the spectacle was “very impressive.”Trump and Salman were later expected to have lunch together and hold a bilateral meeting.Trump’s visit is aimed at forging stronger alliances to combat terrorism while seeking to push past the series of controversies threatening to engulf his young administration.The president flew to Riyadh overnight on Air Force One and was welcomed during an elaborate ceremony at the airport, punctuated by a military flyover and a handshake from Salman. Trump is the only American president to make Saudi Arabia, or any majority Muslim country, his first stop overseas as president — a scheduling choice designed in part to show respect to the region after more than a year of harsh anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric.The president’s stop in Saudi Arabia kicks off an ambitious international debut. After two days of meetings in Riyadh, Trump will travel to Israel, have an audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican, and meet with allies at a NATO summit in Brussels and the Group of 7 wealthy nations in Sicily.As he arrived, the president waved from the doorway of Air Force One and then descended the steps, joined by first lady Melania Trump. The 81-year-old King Salman, who used a cane for support, was brought to the steps of the plane on a golf cart. The two leaders exchanged pleasantries and Trump said it was “a great honor” to be there.Several jets then flew overhead leaving a red, white and blue trail.A few hours later, Trump tweeted for the first time on international soil as president, writing “Great to be in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Looking forward to the afternoon and evening ahead.”Great to be in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Looking forward to the afternoon and evening ahead. #POTUSAbroad pic.twitter.com/JJOra0KfyR— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2017-White House officials hope the trip gives Trump the opportunity to recalibrate after one of the most difficult stretches of his young presidency. The White House badly bungled the president’s stunning firing of FBI Director James Comey, who was overseeing the federal investigation into possible ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia. On Wednesday, the Justice Department relented to calls from Democrats to name a special counsel, tapping former FBI chief Robert Mueller to lead the probe.Moments after Trump lifted off for Saudi Arabia, fresh reports stemming from the Russia investigation surfaced and threatened to overshadow the trip. The New York Times reported that Trump called Comey “a real nut job” while discussing the ongoing investigation with two Russian officials visiting the Oval Office earlier this month. He also told them that firing Comey had “taken off” the “great pressure” he was feeling from the investigation, the Times reported.Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported that an unidentified senior Trump adviser was being considered a “person of interest” in the law enforcement investigation. In addition, Comey agreed to testify at an open hearing of the Senate intelligence committee in the near future, the panel said.Despite his domestic troubles, Trump was expected to get a warm reception in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom’s ruling family grew deeply frustrated with former President Barack Obama’s detente with Iran and his restrained approach to the conflict in Syria. The king did not greet Obama at the airport during his final visit to the nation last year.Saudi Arabia offered Trump an elaborate welcome ahead of his two-day stay. Billboards featuring images of Trump and the king dotted the highways of Riyadh, emblazoned with the motto “Together we prevail.” Trump’s luxury hotel was bathed in red, white and blue lights and, at times, an image of the president’s face.Trump and the king met briefly in the airport terminal for a coffee ceremony before the president headed to his hotel before the day’s other meetings. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told reporters on Air Force One that Trump spent the flight meeting with staff, working on his upcoming speech to the Muslim world and getting a little sleep.Melania Trump wore a black pantsuit with a golden belt and did not cover her head for the arrival, consistent with custom for foreign dignitaries visiting Saudi Arabia. In 2015, her husband had, in a tweet, criticized former first lady Michelle Obama for not wearing a headscarf during a visit to the kingdom.For a president who campaigned on an “America First” platform, the trip is a crucial moment for US allies to size up his commitment to decades-long partnerships while trying to move behind his previous controversial statements.“President Trump understands that America First does not mean America alone,” said H.R. McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser. “Prioritizing American interests means strengthening alliances and partnerships that help us extend our influence and improve the security of the American people.”In a sweetener for Saudi Arabia, US officials said the Trump administration plans to announce $110 billion in advanced military equipment sales and training to the kingdom during the trip. The package includes tanks, combat ships, missile defense systems, radar and communications and cybersecurity technology.After spending much of Saturday meeting with King Salman and other members of the royal family, Trump was to end the day at a banquet dinner at the Murabba Palace. On Sunday, he’ll hold meetings with more than 50 Arab and Muslim leaders converging on Riyadh for a regional summit focused largely on combating the Islamic State and other extremist groups.Trump dodged one potential land mine when Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has been indicted on war crime and genocide charges, announced that he would not attend the summit for personal reasons.The centerpiece of Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia will be a speech Sunday at the Arab-Islamic-American summit. White House aides view the address as a counter to Obama’s 2009 speech to the Muslim world, which Trump criticized as too apologetic for US actions in the region.Trump will call for unity in the fight against radicalism in the Muslim world, casting the challenge as a “battle between good and evil” and urging Arab leaders to “drive out the terrorists from your places of worship,” according to a draft of the speech obtained by The Associated Press. The draft notably refrains from mentioning democracy and human rights — topics Arab leaders often view as US moralizing — in favor of the more limited goals of peace and stability.It also abandons some of the harsh anti-Muslim rhetoric that defined Trump’s presidential campaign and does not contain the words “radical Islamic terror,” a phrase Trump repeatedly criticized Hillary Clinton for not using during last year’s campaign.
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