‘Israeli trip crucial, Trump-Netanyahu need to get started off on the right foot’
US President Donald Trump has arrived in Tel Aviv, Israel. It's the second port of call on his first foreign trip as President; the first one was Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.
RT: How important is this trip for the Trump-Netanyahu relationship?
Gill Hoffman: This trip is extremely important. They need to get started off on the right foot. Barack Obama came to Israel only four years into his presidency. He should have come immediately, the way Trump has if he hoped to reach peace in the Middle East. They share that goal and perhaps because he has come here now Trump can be more successful than Obama was.
RT: Donald Trump comes directly from Saudi Arabia where he signed a massive arms deal that has worried a number of Israeli officials, but upon landing, he poured praise on Israel. Will such comments appease Israel?
GH: Look, I took a poll for the Jerusalem Post, the newspaper that I work for back in January. It found that 79 percent of Israelis considered the Trump administration more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian; only three percent considered it more pro-Palestinian. That number has fallen to 56 percent, because of various missteps by the Trump administration over the last three-four months. This trip is crucial for Trump to get the support back from the Israelis because if you look back historically, the presidents have succeeded moving the peace process forward have been seen as pro-Israel by the people of Israel. Trump himself said: “It is exponentially easier to make peace when the world knows that the President of the US is on Israel’s side.” And he is historically correct.
RT: Trump in the past promised to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, but that has yet to come to fruition. Do you see that being discussed during this trip?
GH: The people of Israel hope so. I can tell you the overall majority of Israelis would like to see the embassy of the US, and around the world, in the capital of the Jewish …It is very important for the people of Israel that the President of the US shows that he is recognizing the capital of Israel, and when he does that, it makes the world safer. The world sees Israel as an ally of the US. When Trump is able to stand up to the Arab world and say: “No I am going to stand by Israel by moving the embassy,” he is telling the Arab and Muslim world: “You have to be pro-America. You have an interest in being pro-America.” That wasn’t true during the Obama administration. And if they do think it is true that will keep the entire world much more safe.
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