Trump faces tough trip to Israel
JERUSALEM US President Donald Trump is headed for Israel and the Palestinian territories today as part of his first trip abroad since taking office, hoping to renew peace efforts but with controversy trailing him.
He arrives having already upturned expectations when it comes to the decades-old Middle East conflict, giving Palestinians more hope than they may have anticipated and disappointing the right-wing Israelis who heralded his election.
Any leader would face an enormous challenge in seeking to bring the Israelis and Palestinians together for meaningful talks, and Mr Trump's inexperience and domestic political struggles will only add to it.
Beyond that, he has faced criticism from Israelis in recent days related to the White House's approach to the ultra-sensitive status of Jerusalem.
Concerns have also been raised over Mr Trump's sharing of intelligence with Russia that is said to have originally come from Israel.
"I think the trip is in a lot of jeopardy of being able to be productive because of all the chaos and controversy that is going on in Washington," Mr Dan Shapiro, a senior fellow at Tel Aviv's Institute for National Security Studies think tank, told AFP.
Mr Trump arrives in Israel today following his visit to Saudi Arabia, and he will hold talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later in the day in Jerusalem. - AFP