Yerushalayim (Ilana Messika/TPS) – After a huis-clos meeting, President Reuven Rivlin and US President Donald Trump both emphasized the fight against terror, with a special emphasis on Iran and the mutual drive to promote the political process during briefings to the press at the President’s residence in Yerushalayim.
“Mr. President, we are happy to see that America is back in the area. America is back again,” stated President Rivlin in reference to former US President Obama’s policy of retrenchment.
Rivlin opened by hailing the US military strike on a Syrian government air base in early April in response to a chemical weapons attack deemed to originate from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and further vouched for Israel’s unending support in the fight against the Islamic State.
“We have not yet achieved our mission of living in peace with our neighbors, the Palestinians, and with the rest of the Arab world,” continued President Rivlin. Our destiny – Palestinians and Jews – is to live together in this land. We must build trust and cooperation between us.”
“But we must be sure that we don’t go to sleep with a dream, and wake up with a nightmare: with Iran, ISIS and Hamas, in our borders,” concluded Rivlin. “In order to dream, we need to be sure that Iran is out; out of our borders, out of Syria, out of Lebanon.”
Trump echoed Rivlin’s sentiment about the Iranian threat and reiterated his declarations in Riyadh about the willingness of the United States to create a strategic alliance with the Sunni world to counter that menace. Trump added that one of the only brighter points of the Iranian threat is the unique opportunity it presents in such a regional partnership between countries with a long history of enmity.
“Israel and the US must declare together that Iran must never have nuclear weapons, that Iran must stop funding terrorism and militias immediately,” stated Trump.”There is a consensus among Muslim countries regarding Iran, and many have expressed a desire to help protect the region from extremism.”
These statements follow Trump’s unprecedented arms deal of nearly $110 billion with Saudi Arabia, including, inter alia, tanks, artillery, radar systems, armored personnel carriers, and Blackhawk helicopters.
Director of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) Amos Yadlin and INSS visiting fellow Eldad Shavit wrote in an INSS issue on Trump’s visit to the Middle East that the US willingness to partner with Saudi Arabia and to promote the Israeli-Palestinian peace process represents “the first opportunity in many years to set in motion a more substantive political process than in the past.”
“Therefore, Israel must avoid being pushed into the role of spoiler,” continued Yadlin and Shavit.“Even if it is currently not possible to reach a final status agreement with the Palestinians, a greater chance exists now than in the past to advance measures that will help implement interim arrangements that will prove acceptable to both the US administration and the major Arab states, and with their encouragement, to the Palestinians as well.”