Members of President-elect Trump’s transition team are working to extend an invitation to attend his inauguration to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Whether or not Mr. Netanyahu will attend the ceremony is still unanswered. Nonetheless, an invitation from the incoming 45th president would send a strong message to supporters of Israel at home, to Israel, and to states in the Middle East who are hostile to Israel, that there is no greater friend of the US in the region than the Jewish State.
An invitation to the Israeli prime minister would certainly reinforce the message Trump delivered a few weeks ago, by his appoint of David Friedman, an opponent of the two-state solution, as the next US Ambassador to Israel, the sole democracy in the region. Moreover, Trump’s posture toward Israel, coupled with his commitment to destroy ISIS, should encourage other traditional US allies in the region, such as Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, as it means that the US is committed to re-establishing stability and security in the region.
Trump’s actions thus far contravene the rather terse treatment of the Israeli prime minister by outgoing president, Barak Obama, during his tenure. Trump often said during the presidential campaign, that he was “1000% behind Israel.” On New Year’s Eve, at Mar-a-Lago, Trump commented, “Look, we have to protect Israel, Israel to me is very very important, we have to protect Israel, and I disagree with what he’s done with Israel,” Trump said, referring to Obama and the December 24th US abstention vote on a Security Council resolution condemning Israel. “I listened to Secretary Kerry’s speech, I think it’s very unfair to Israel, what happened.”
Trump is already working to back up his words with action. Reports are that the two men speak on a regular basis, and that Trump would like to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu shortly after taking office.
No doubt the Israeli prime minister welcomes the change in attitude of the soon to be US chief executive, whom he has known as a friend for many years. It would certainly be a favorable development for both countries, and the Middle East, should Netanyahu attend the inauguration.
By Allen Sutton