A growing number of Israeli politicians are expected to descend on Washington DC in the coming months as part of an effort by the government to forge ties with the Trump administration.
The first to meet with the new administration will be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom President Donald Trump invited to visit the White House during their phone call on Sunday.
Prime Minister Benjamin spoke on the phone Saturday with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the conflict in Syria and “continued security cooperation,” his office said. The talks came as the 15-member UN Security Council unanimously voted to back a Russian-Turkish peace plan for a ceasefire in Syria and the launch of new peace talks for the war-wracked country.
The 14-to-0 vote by the United Nations Security Council condemning Israeli settlements, permitted on Friday by President Obama, who ordered an American abstention, served as a reminder that the Palestinian issue remains a powder keg. Mr. Trump’s clarion call supporting Israel on settlements and his promise to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem could easily stir new antipathy among the Sunni Arab states Mr. Netanyahu has been courting most, analysts said.
Netanyahu presented a color-coded world map and discussed Israel’s relations with a number of strategic states. “First of all” he exclaimed, “there is a huge change.” He pointed out that Israel is negotiating a free trade agreement with China, the second largest economy in the world. Israel’s exports to India increased by 30%, and with Japan, Israel has a defense and investment protection agreement.
In the past year, Netanyahu has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin four different times. That has proven vital to Israel's security as Putin becomes more involved in Syria on the side of Israel's enemies. If relations with Moscow are vital for security reasons, relations with Beijing pave a path to continues economic growth.
The international community could actually take a lesson out of the Iran example. [...] Even Iran’s allies such as Russia and China joined hands with the U.S. and Britain to build a global pressure regime which eventually worked in forcing Tehran to compromise. What was one of the most contentious global issues till a few years ago was settled amicably in a rare case of the triumph of public diplomacy.
An Israeli “yes” could have done more for its image abroad than 100 public diplomacy videos, helped negate its current international image as a militaristic peace refusenik and shown that Israel can be a willing partner for peace. Or at least, it wouldn’t have provided further evidence to bolster that image. Now, all anyone’s going to remember about this latest episode is that France wanted to organize a peace conference, the Palestinians agreed to participate – and Israel refused.
Israel's Prime Minister has agreed to 24-hour video surveillance at a disputed Jerusalem holy site -- a move that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said could be "a game-changer" to reduce regional bloodshed.