Diplomatic Sources Deny Reports Israel Asked President Trump to Delay Visit

YERUSHALAYIM -
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President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during their joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in February. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Preparations for President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to Israel are in full gear, with some American teams already in Israel to help prepare the logistics of the visit, to be held May 22.

Senior diplomatic sources denied reports in Arab media that Israel had requested Trump to delay his visit to June instead of at the end of May as originally planned, and said it was false.

“No one asked the U.S. to delay President Trump’s visit, as was claimed,” sources in PM Netanyahu’s office said. “We are happy to host President Trump at any time.”

According to the report in London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, Israel suggested that the president delay the trip by several days to coincide with the anniversary celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the unification of Yerushalayim.

Channel Two said that the timing of the visit will present President Trump as leaning towards Israel’s side in his “peace process” efforts.

However, the Trump administration refused for two reasons, Al-Hayat said, citing Western sources.

With Trump looking to broker a Mideast peace deal, he does not want to appear too biased in favor of Israel, which could be implied if his visit were to coincide with Israel’s marking of the Six Day War, the report said.

The later date was also technically difficult because President Trump has tied his first overseas visit to the NATO and G7 summits in Brussels and Sicily later this month, Al-Hayat said.

There is speculation that President Trump might use the trip to make a major announcement regarding the status of Yerushalayim.

Some sources suggest he will give the keynote address near the Knesset, while other reports say that the president requested to deliver his main speech at Masada.