TEHRAN, May 22, YJC - Israeli news outlets have described a visit by US President Donald Trump as “hysterical” after several ministers expressed concerns over a huge arms deal signed between the US and Saudi Arabia.
TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -
Several ministers reportedly decided not to attend the airport reception of President Trump who arrived in Tel Aviv on Monday, prompting a furious Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to issue a warning.
According to the daily Haaretz, Netanyahu flew into a rage after he learned that most of the ministers were planning not to attend the welcome ceremony at Ben-Gurion airport.
Trump is visiting Israel on the second leg of his first foreign trip as president, after travelling to Saudi Arabia.
"I will discuss with President Trump ways to strengthen our primary and steadfast ties with the United States," Netanyahu said at the start of his cabinet meeting.
"We will improve our security ties, which we are strengthening on a daily basis. We will also discuss ways to advance the peace,” he added.
However, "some in the Israeli news media have already described the visit as 'hysterical', rather than 'historical'," the New York Times wrote.
The paper said squabbling within Netanyahu's governing coalition has marred much of the festivity surrounding Trump's visit.
The row over the reception ceremony is the latest in a series of controversies to hit Trump’s visit.
The US president is reportedly due to visit the so-called Western Wall in the Old City of the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds, becoming the first American president to make such a trip.
The decision is highly controversial because the site is a lightning rod in ongoing confrontations between Palestinian worshipers and Jewish extremists and Trump's visit is likely to be seen as taking sides in the row.
Last week, Jonathan Schanzer of the right-wing US Foundation for Defense of Democracies said, "I think that if Trump himself goes to the Western Wall ... there’s going to be very little argument over who controls it."
US officials have said Netanyahu would not accompany Trump and his family to the wall, but the US president has not ruled out the Israeli premier tagging along.
Palestinians say Israel is trying to change the demographic make-up of Jerusalem al-Quds as part of its project to Judaize the city which they want as the capital of their future independent state.
Those hopes, however, have been dealt a serious blow amid Israel's expansion of settlements on Palestinian territories. Heartened by Trump's election, Israel unveiled plans in April to build 25,000 settler units in Jerusalem al-Quds.
The settlement expansion has long been cited as the key hurdle to any settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Trump's visit, meanwhile, is not expected to make any major breakthrough in the long-stalled talks between the two sides. The last round of the talks collapsed in April 2014, with Israeli settlements cited among major reasons behind the failure.
Trump plans to meet Palestinian chief Authority Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday in the West Bank before flying on to Europe later in the day.
A Palestinian official said Saturday that Abbas would propose exchanging 6.5 percent of the Palestinian territory with Israel, more than triple the amount put forward in a previous land-swap initiative.
Nevertheless, Israeli hardliners are disappointed, Presstv reported.
"Right-wing politicians are disappointed that the Trump administration appears to be adhering to longstanding American policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and they are agitating for Mr. Netanyahu to take a tougher stance," the New York Times wrote.