The Times Of Israel Reports: Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that preparations for Trump’s visit were at the advanced stage, although it has not yet been finalized, and told Army Radio, “There’s a feeling that we have a real friend in the White House.”
The visit will be Trump’s first ever trip to Israel. Channel 2 said he is expected to stay for one night only, and that it is not yet clear whether he will visit the Palestinian areas. The president hosted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in February and is set to host Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on May 3.
The advance delegation will hold talks at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, and visit possible sites for the president’s itinerary.
On the eve of May 23 and on May 24, Israel will mark Jerusalem Day, celebrating 50 years since the reunification of the city under Israeli control in the 1967 Six Day War. Israel extended sovereignty to East Jerusalem and the Old City and claims the entire city as its capital; the Palestinians seek East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestinian state. The Channel 2 report, noting the resonance of the date for Israelis and Palestinians, said Trump’s visit would not be on Jerusalem Day itself.
The TV report also said that Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, will visit Israel in June. Haley has become a particularly popular member of the Trump administration in Israel and in the pro-Israel community in the US for her repeated castigations of anti-Israel bias at the UN.
Israel Radio said the talks on Trump’s visit had been going on for several weeks. A senior diplomatic official told the radio that the chances of Trump coming to Israel were at 80 percent.
No US president has visited Israel in the first months of his term.
His trip to Israel will also coincide with an important decision Trump will have to make on whether to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as he promised in his election campaign.
In March, Representative Ron DeSantis, a Republican from Florida who led a fact-finding mission to investigate the logistics of moving the embassy to Jerusalem, speculated that Trump could make the announcement of the move on Jerusalem Day.
“Knowing the president — he’s been a man of his word — I don’t think that he’s going to, in the same month that people here in Jerusalem are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem Day, sign the waiver. I would bet that he would not do that and that he would announce that the embassy is going to be moving,” DeSantis said during his visit.
Trump has never visited Israel before.