On Monday morning, the first meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee since Donald Trump became president, took place. However, the two most influential people who everybody expected to attend, were not there: Donald Trump and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The latter had a satellite intervention and spoke to the 18,000 people which the AIPAC group gathered. This group is the country’s biggest pro-Israel one. At the same time, Trump sent Vice President Mike Pence in his place, to talk to the audience, on Sunday evening.
A proof of the Israel-U.S. relations
The absence of the two leaders from the meeting might prove that the relations between the two countries are still fragile. Both Trump and Netanyahu had words of praise for each other and seemed closer than ever before.
There have been numerous talks between the leaders of the two nations. Firstly, the United States praised Israel’s efforts to slow down and even stop the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. This was something the countries agreed on and strengthened their relationship. Now, according to experts, Netanyahu wants to have some talks with President Trump in regards to the strategy to confront Iran. However, there might be a problem because the Trump administration’s policy on Iran is still not ready. So, it would not make much sense for the Israeli Prime Minister to visit Trump now.
During his friendly video-call, Mr. Netanyahu joked that he did not come to the meeting to avoid waiting in line at the entrance. He also talked about the warmth Donald Trump showed him when he visited the United States. However, Netanyahu avoided talking about the settlements, proving once more that it is a delicate subject for his country.
Over the years, AIPAC invited both leaders of the countries to their meetings. Former President Barack Obama sometimes attended, but he was usually sending someone in his place. For example, Vice President Joe Biden or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Mr. Netanyahu made several appearances at the meeting and sometimes talked with the people through video calls. It now seems like Trump began his mandate by not attending the meeting at all, which, according to some sources, was seen as a relief for the organizers.
Vice President Pence kept a neutral tone, saying that the United States finally have a president who cares for the nation’s allies. This comes after, during the campaign, Trump called Obama the “worst thing to happen to Israel.” It seems like now, the atmosphere at the meeting was friendlier and Marshall Wittmann, a spokesman for Aipac, stated that everybody was very pleased with how the meeting went. He also thanked everybody who was present at the very prestigious event.
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