Date
19 August 2017
US President Donald Trump prepares to leave a note on the Western Wall of Jerusalem. Trump vowed to do whatever is necessary to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Photo: Reuters
US President Donald Trump prepares to leave a note on the Western Wall of Jerusalem. Trump vowed to do whatever is necessary to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Photo: Reuters

Trump says concerns about Iran driving Israel, Arabs closer

US President Donald Trump said on Monday that shared concern about Iran was driving Israel and many Arab states closer and demanded that Tehran immediately cease military and financial backing of “terrorists and militias”, Reuters reports

In stressing threats from Iran, Trump echoed a theme laid out during weekend meetings in Saudi Arabia with Muslim leaders from around the world, many wary of the Islamic Republic’s growing regional influence and financial muscle.

Trump has vowed to do whatever is necessary to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, dubbing a peace accord “the ultimate deal”. But ahead of his Holy Land visit, he gave little indication of how he could revive talks that collapsed in 2014.

Trump will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Tuesday and the Palestinian leader said he hoped the meeting could be “useful and fruitful … [and] will bring results”.

But in the Gaza Strip, dozens of Palestinians rallied against Trump and burned his picture and an effigy of him.

Trump received a warm welcome in Riyadh from Arab leaders, especially over his tough line on Tehran, which many Sunni Muslim Arab states regard as seeking regional control.

In Jerusalem, in public remarks after talks with Israeli leaders on the first day of his two-day visit, he again focused on Iran, pledging he would never let Tehran acquire nuclear arms.

“What’s happened with Iran has brought many of the parts of the Middle East toward Israel,” Trump said at a meeting with President Reuven Rivlin.

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