Report: Trump Refused to Delay Israel Visit to Coincide With Six Day War Anniversary

White House was concerned Trump wouldn't be seen as fair negotiator if he visited at the beginning of June, when Israel marks 50 years to 1967

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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U.S. President Donald Trump arrives aboard Air Force One at JFK International Airport in New York, U.S. May 4, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives aboard Air Force One at JFK International Airport in New York, U.S. May 4, 2017. Credit: JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

The White House refused an Israeli proposal to delay a visit from President Donald Trump until June to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War, according to a report in the Saudi newspaper Al-Hayat.

According to the report, which the London-based paper said was confirmed by anonymous Western sources, the White House's refusal stemmed from schedule constraints and a concern that the visit would cast Trump as a biased negotiator who would take the side of Israel in the conflict.

The report also said that his visit to Saudi Arabia would be Trump's main stop on his trip to the Middle East.

According to Al-Hayat, the focus of Trump's Saudi visit would be holding talks on the war on terror. The report also said that after his visit in Saudi Arabia, where Trump is scheduled to meet with leaders from several Muslim countries, he will hold meetings with European. Last week, press Secretary Sean Spicer said the president will travel to Brussels, Belgium, on May 25 for a meeting with the NATO heads of state.

Trump is expected to visit Israel on May 22 and the Palestinian Authority on May 23. Trump will be coming to Israel after a visit to Saudi Arabia. A senior White House official said the president was expected to meet in Saudi Arabia with a group of leaders and clerics from the Arab world who had committed to fight extremist Islamic terror. The senior White House official said Trump wanted to unite the Arab world around a number of goals, including defeating ISIS, restricting Iranian influence in the region and distancing the younger generation from religious extremism.

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