Trump diplomacy sounds like an oxymoron. Trump is on his first state visit, and it did not take long for Donald Trump to mess it up. Even before he left the United States. The planning itself was offensive to Israelis.
Trump started his Middle East tour in Saudi Arabia, before visiting Israel. In the ultraconservative Islamic Saudi Arabia Trump will have opportunities to mess up Middle East diplomacy.
How Donald Trump carries out diplomacy is beyond the realms of fantasy.
The second country to visit on his Middle East tour will be Israel. Last week he did not prepare well for that visit.
Israel has given the United States highly confidential information on ISIS. This was so sensitive that the United States was not even allowed to share this with their allies. Yet Donald Trump wanted to brag to the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador, what great Intel he had. He blurted this sensitive and highly confidential information to these Russians, including details like which city the Intel came from. This leak in the Oval Office by President Trump has led to the embedded spy to be identified.
The Israelis were not happy.
Now Donald Trump is on his whirlwind Middle East state visit. Back home he was bouncing from one White House crisis to the next, like a ball in a pinball machine. Some White House staff thought visiting another country could give Donald Trump a breather. All he needs to do is quietly be led from place to place and say as little as possible.
That is a task too difficult for Donald Trump …
Donald Trump was going to visit the ancient fortress of Masada. It is a 2,000-year-old monument. Helicopters are not allowed to land there as there is a great risk that they will damage the this historical site. Masada is a UNESCO World Heritage site that UNESCO describes as a creation of “majestic beauty.”
Previous United States presidents landed at the foot of the mountain and rode up to the top in the cable car. Not Donald Trump. No way! Trump wanted to land in his helicopter on the top of the mountain, inside the Masada fortress ruins. He was not allowed to, so like the petulant child he is, he canceled that visit.
The Israelis were not impressed.
Trump is scheduled to visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial. He plans to spend a mere 15 minutes for the visit, unlike previous presidents who spent an hour or more at the memorial.
This has offended Israelis.
The Western Wall
Can it get worse. Trust Trump to blunder on. A member of Trump’s diplomatic staff (sic) told the Israelis that the Western Wall was in the West Bank and Trump did not want the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accompany Trump on his visit to the Western Wall.
This has offended the Israelis.
The Western Wall is considered by Jews and Israel to be part of Jerusalem and, therefore, Israel. It is the nearest they can get to the holiest site in Judaism – the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount itself is controlled by a Jordanian-Palestinian Islamic trust.
The Western Wall was part of the outer wall surrounding the Temple Mount, but was left standing when the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in 70 A.D. For the Jews, however, this a remnant of what was is most sacred site in the Jewish world and Judaism.
Diplomacy is not Trump’s forte. So far he has brought the Trump chaos that is becoming his trademark, to Israel Trump has caused offense and outrage to Israel’s Orthodox Right, its far Left, its political establishment and the intelligence community on which the United States relies. And Donald Trump has not arrived in Israel yet.
Day Before the Israel Visit
The White House asked for the greeting reception at the arrival to be shortened to only two national anthems, and shaking of hands to be restricted to Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Ministers in the cabinet and heads of other political parties were upset at not being included in the greeting on the airport tarmac. So they decided to skip it altogether. This angered Netanyahu who was forced to order his ministers to attend the airport reception for Donald Trump.
According to reports in the Israeli media, an angry Netanyahu was informed on Sunday that party heads and a number of ministers planned to skip the reception after the White House had asked for the meet and greet to be shortened to the two countries’ anthems and handshakes only between Netanyahu and Trump.
As it turned outTrump landed at Israel’s international airport in Tel Aviv and was greeted by Israel’s president, prime minister and their wives.
But true to form, Trump showed what an ignorant buffoon he is. Walking along a red carpet before the national anthems were played, Trump asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “What is the protocol?”
Throwing up his hands, Netanyahu replied: “Who knows?”
Now Donald Trump has 28 hours to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As Trump stated so eloquently himself: “It is maybe not as difficult as people have thought.”
Watch this space …