Report: President Trump Already Preparing Israel-PA Summit

YERUSHALAYIM -
President Donald Trump bids farewell before he boards Air Force One to depart for Israel from King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Monday. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

President Donald Trump departed Saudi Arabia on Monday morning after two days of meetings in the ultra-conservative desert kingdom.

President Trump’s flight from Riyadh to Tel Aviv may make history as the first direct flight between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Saudi Arabia doesn’t recognize Israel and the two states don’t have diplomatic relations. There are no direct flights between the two countries and flights from either country bypass the other’s airspace.

An Israel Airport Authority spokesman says that he was not aware of any direct flights ever having landed in Israel from the kingdom.

An Egyptian report Monday said that U.S. President Donald Trump will invite Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas to a peace summit, to be held either in Egypt or Washington. The report in Egyptian state-controlled Al-Achbar daily, quoted by Israel Radio, said that it was likely that Jordanian and Saudi Arabian officials would be invited to the summit as well.

The purpose of the summit, according to the report, is to develop a Trump-sponsored road map for peace, in which both Israel and the PA will be asked to come up with creative ideas to break the impasse between them. The idea for the summit was finalized Sunday, when Trump met with top Saudi officials during his weekend visit to that country.

The PA is ready for such a summit, sources in Ramallah said Monday. Sources in Ramallah quoted on Channel Ten said that Abbas was “prepared to take far-reaching steps to lead to peace, under the leadership of President Trump. The president will be surprised to see just how far Abbas is prepared to go, and how extensive the concessions he is willing to make will be – more than ever.” In return, the sources said, Abbas will “demand an equal commitment from Israel, of course with American guarantees.”

Speaking to Arab and Muslim leaders in Riyadh Sunday, President Trump said that his was a trip with religious overtones, visiting the centers of faith of “the three Abrahamitic faiths. If these three faiths can join together in cooperation, then peace in this world is possible, including peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”

In his speech attended by dozens of Arab and Islamic leaders, he toned down the harsh anti-Muslim rhetoric he had employed during the presidential campaign last year in favor of trying to gain cooperation against Islamist terrorists.

“A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and drive out the extremists. Drive them out,” Trump said.