JERUSALEM – In a keynote speech today that capped his 24-hour visit to Israel, President Donald Trump outlined his administration’s approach toward the Jewish state and vowed an “unshakable bond” between the U.S. and Israel.
Below are six key points that Trump made in his address, presented in no particular order:
1 – Trump affirmed the Jewish people’s “ancient and eternal” ties to the land of Israel.
Jerusalem is a sacred city. Its beauty, splendor, and heritage are like no other place on Earth. (Applause.) What a heritage. What a heritage. The ties of the Jewish people to this Holy Land are ancient and eternal. (Applause.) They date back thousands of years, including the reign of King David whose star now flies proudly on Israel’s white and blue flag. …
From the two Holy Temples to the glorious heights of Masada, we see an incredible story of faith and perseverance. That faith is what inspired Jews to believe in their destiny, to overcome their despair and to build here – right here – a future that others dared not even to dream.
Still, Trump did not single out Jewish ties to the city of Jerusalem. His speech was delivered here on Jerusalem Day, a national holiday that marks Israel’s reunification of Jerusalem after the 1967 Six Day War and the establishment of Israeli sovereignty over the eastern sections of the city, which include the Old City, Western Wall and Temple Mount.
Current U.S. law does not officially recognize Israeli control over the eastern sections of the city, going so far as to prevent American citizens born in Jerusalem from listing “Israel” as their country of birth. All eyes will be on Trump to see if he makes any declarations regarding Israel’s status in Jerusalem.
2 – Trump explained that in the heart of the tyrannical Middle East, Jews, Christians and Muslims live freely in the one democracy in the region.
He stated: “In Israel, not only are Jews free to till the soil, teach their children, and pray to God in the ancient land of their fathers – and they love this land and they love God – but Muslims, Christians and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience and to follow their dreams, right here.”
While he did not compare Israel to the Palestinian Authority, it should be noted that the Palestinians have a sordid history of denying freedom of worship to other religions and have desecrated other religion’s holiest sites.
In one of many examples, the Palestinians have set fire multiple times to Joseph’s Tomb, Judaism’s third holiest site.
I previously documented the unfortunate Palestinian history of mistreating the tomb, the believed burial place of the biblical Joseph:
Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, which granted nearby strategic territory to the Palestinians, Joseph’s Tomb was supposed to be accessible to Jews and Christians. But following repeated attacks against Jewish worshippers at the holy site by gunmen associated with then-Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat’s militias, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak in October 2000 ordered an Israeli unilateral retreat from the area.
Within less than an hour of the Israeli retreat, Palestinian rioters overtook Joseph’s Tomb and reportedly began to ransack the site. Palestinian mobs reportedly tore apart books, destroying prayer stands and grinding out stone carvings in the Tomb’s interior.
Palestinians hoisted a Muslim flag over the tomb. Amin Maqbul, an official from Arafat’s office, visited the tomb to deliver a speech declaring, “Today was the first step to liberate (Jerusalem).”
One BBC reporter described the scene: “The site was reduced to smoldering rubble – festooned with Palestinian and Islamic flags – cheering Arab crowd.”
Palestinians also constructed a mosque on the rubble of the tomb’s adjacent yeshiva compound. Workers painted the dome of the compound green, the Islamic color.
Yet another example came in 2002, when Palestinian gangs affiliated with Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party notoriously laid siege to the Church of the Nativity – which is the believed birthplace of Jesus – where they took the church’s nuns and priests hostage for over 30 days. According to reports, not only was the church left in shambles, the gangs were accused of using pages of bibles as toilet paper.
The Palestinians have also been accused of destroying Jewish Temple artifacts. On the Temple Mount itself, the site’s Waqf Islamic custodians do not allow Jews or Christians to pray or display holy objects even though the site is Judaism’s single holiest place.
3 – Trump pledged to “always stand with Israel.”
He stated: “I stand in awe of the accomplishments of the Jewish people, and I make this promise to you: My administration will always stand with Israel.”
This after eight years of Obama’s notorious mistreatment of Israel and the country’s leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Indeed, Trump pointed to the “big, big beautiful difference” in the way his administration has approached Israel in a clear swipe at the anti-Israel attitudes that permeated the Obama administration.
In recent days, the news media has been obsessively focused on an unsubstantiated New York Times report quoting a “current and a former American official” claiming it was Israel that provided alleged classified intelligence about the Islamic State purportedly disclosed by Trump to Russian officials during a recent meeting. Trump said yesterday that he “never mentioned” Israel during a White House meeting two weeks ago with Russian officials.
It is instructive to recall that the Obama administration was repeatedly accused of deliberately leaking sensitive Israeli intelligence and military information. This included alleged leaks about Israeli military positions for the possible targeting of Iran, as I noted last week.
4 – Trump hinted at the possibility of a larger, regional peace between Israel and the Sunni Arab nations.
Earlier this week, I spoke at a very historic summit in Saudi Arabia. I was hosted by King Salman – a very wise man. There, I urged our friends in the Muslim world to join us in creating stability, safety and security. And I was deeply encouraged by the desire of many leaders to join us in cooperation toward these shared and vital goals. …
We must build a coalition of partners who share the aim of stamping out extremists and violence, and providing our children a peaceful and hopeful future. But a hopeful future for children in the Middle East requires the world to fully recognize the vital role of the State of Israel.
Trump understands that the tectonic plates have shifted in this region following eight years of the Obama administration’s failed Mideast policies, especially the U.S.-led nuclear deal with Iran. Sunni Arab countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have reportedly been working behind the scenes with Israel to tackle the Iran threat, and relations between Israel and Sunni Arab countries have grown warmer as a result.
Trump could take advantage of these regional trends to nudge Sunni Arab countries not currently in a state of peace with Israel (only Egypt and Jordan have signed peace deals with the Jewish state) to come out of the closet and launch official diplomatic relations with Israel instead of behind-the-scenes diplomacy. Trump could also include these Arab countries in Israeli-Palestinian talks in hopes of forging a larger regional deal that goes beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
5 – Contrary to all evidence, Trump claimed Abbas and the Palestinians are “ready to reach for peace.”
As I have repeatedly said, I am personally committed to helping Israelis and Palestinians achieve a peace agreement, and I had a meeting this morning with President Abbas and can tell you that the Palestinians are ready to reach for peace. I know you’ve heard it before. I am telling you – that’s what I do. They are ready to reach for peace.
In my meeting with my very good friend, Benjamin, I can tell you also that he is reaching for peace. He wants peace. He loves people. He especially loves the Israeli people. Benjamin Netanyahu wants peace.
Abbas’s official state organs promote terrorism and the destruction of Israel, while the PA has repeatedly refused to stop paying terrorists and their families.
Trump’s statements about Abbas fly in the face of the PA’s well known history of rejecting each previous Israeli offer of a state and in recent years refusing to even come to the bargaining table. These offers were made at Camp David in 2000, Taba in 2001, the Annapolis Conference in 2007 and again in 2008. In each of these cases, the PA refused generous Israeli statehood proposals and bolted negotiations without counteroffers.
The PA also failed to respond to Netanyahu’s unprecedented attempts to jump-start negotiations aimed at creating a Palestinian state, including freezing Jewish construction in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, and releasing Palestinian prisoners.
6 – Trump pledged his firm commitment to ensuring that Iran doesn’t obtain a nuclear weapon and halting Tehran’s support for terrorists.
“The United States is firmly committed to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and halting their support of terrorists and militias,” he said. “So we are telling you right now that Iran will not have nuclear weapons.”
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.