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Times of Israel: By Sidestepping Israel in Speech, Trump Misses Chance to Push For Peace

Image: Times of Israel: By Sidestepping Israel in Speech, Trump Misses Chance to Push For Peace
President Donald Trump delivers a speech to the Arab Islamic American Summit, at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center, Sunday, May 21, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

By    |   Sunday, 21 May 2017 05:50 PM

President Donald Trump missed out on a golden opportunity to make real progress toward his stated goal of achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace by failing to urge recognition of Israel and promote a peace deal in his address on Sunday to Arab and Muslim leaders in Riyadh, according to The Times of Israel’s Raphael Ahren.

Ahren, who is diplomatic correspondent of the website, said that in the president’s lengthy speech, Trump made only three fleeting references to Israel, but he “did not declare America’s unwavering support for Israel. He did not urge the Arab world to finally come to terms with Israel’s existence. Although his forceful plea for religious tolerance listed Jews as innocent victims of terrorism, he chose not to call on the gathered dignitaries to accept the Jewish people’s right to a homeland of their own. He did not even include Israel in a list of countries in the Middle East fighting terror.”

Although Ahren acknowledged that Trump will almost assuredly make many friendly statements about Israel during his visit to the Jewish state on Monday, he emphasized those compliments won’t do anything to advance peace, because if Trump “truly wanted to send a message to the Arab world about Israeli-Palestinian peace, about Israel’s right to exist, the time to do it was Sunday, in Saudi Arabia, in front of leaders who still refuse to recognize the Jewish state.”

Ahren stressed the extent to which Trump’s address missed the mark by, ironically, comparing it to President Barack Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo, which many Israelis criticized as bending over backwards to befriend the Islamic world, especially since Obama failed to visit Israel on the same trip as that speech.

But The Times of Israel correspondent pointed out that although Obama criticized certain Israeli policies in the Cairo speech, such as settlements, and expressed sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians, he also “left no doubt about American support for the Jewish state and even called on the Arab world to consider adapting some of his views,” saying that the American alliance with Israel was unbreakable.

Obama also clearly stated that the “Palestinians must abandon violence” and urged the Arab world to do more to bring about a peace deal, including recognizing Israel.

The fact that Trump mentioned none of these major points in Saudi Arabia will harm his efforts to forge a peace deal, Ahren said.

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President Donald Trump missed out on a golden opportunity to make real progress towards his stated goal of achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace, according to The Times of Israel’s Raphael Ahren.
israel, times of israel, trump, donald trump, peace, saudi arabia
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2017-50-21
Sunday, 21 May 2017 05:50 PM
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