McMaster Lauds President Trump’s ‘Disruptive’ Approach on Eve of Mideast Talks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
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National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster
(Reuters/Kevin Lamarque/File)

H.R. McMaster, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, described his boss’s foreign-policy approach as “disruptive” on the eve of the U.S. president’s first White House meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, saying that Mr. Trump’s unconventional methods could create an opportunity to ultimately help stabilize the Middle East.

McMaster told an Israel Independence Day celebration in Washington on Tuesday night that Mr. Trump “does not have time to debate over doctrine” and instead seeks to challenge failed policies of the past with a businessman’s results-oriented approach.

“The president is not a super-patient man,” McMaster said. “Some people have described him as disruptive. They’re right. And this is good — good because we can no longer afford to invest in policies that do not advance the interests and values of the United States and our allies.”

Nevertheless, expectations are generally low for President Trump’s meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority, on Wednesday.

A decorated Army general, McMaster said that “arduous circumstances,” including Islamic State terrorism and a growing regional threat from Iran, “may allow us to resolve what some have regarded as intractable problems, problems like disputes between Israel and the Palestinians.”

“President Trump has taken a typically unconventional and fresh approach to this problem,” McMaster said in a rare public speech.

A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Mr. Trump would press the Palestinian leader to halt payments by the PLO to families of terrorists jailed by Israel and to stop anti-Israel incitement by Palestinian media.

The administration seeks to enlist Israel’s Sunni Arab neighbors, who share Israeli concerns about Shi’ite Iran, to help rejuvenate Middle East peacemaking.