Netanyahu to meet Trump despite outcry over call for Muslim ban

The Guardian reports: The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has confirmed he will meet Donald Trump despite an international outcry over the Republican presidential frontrunner’s suggestion that Muslims should be banned from entering the US.

The meeting – scheduled before Trump’s remarks triggered outrage in the US and globally – is due to take place on 28 December and is certain to be controversial in a country where a large minority of Israeli citizens are Muslims of Palestinian origin. Dozens of Israeli MPs have called for the invitation to be rescinded.

Visits by US presidential candidates to Israel are often seen as much a part of their campaigning as stumping in Iowa or New Hampshire. The decision to go ahead with the meeting comes 24 hours after Trump’s comments and after the Israeli prime minister’s office declined to comment on the Republican’s remarks in light of his planned visit. Trump will not, however, be visiting neighbouring Jordan as had earlier been suggested.

The meeting was arranged a couple of weeks ago, Netanyahu’s office said on Wednesday, adding that the prime minister would meet any candidate from any party who arrives in Israel and seeks a meeting.

Trump announced on 3 December his plan to visit Israel. “Very soon I’m going to Israel,” Trump said at a rally in Virginia. “I’m going to be meeting with Bibi Netanyahu who’s a great guy – I love Israel and will support it wholeheartedly.”

The visit seems certain to be a minefield of protocol and diplomatic stage management, not least because of inflammatory remarks made by Netanyahu during Israel’s elections this year when he warned voters of “Arab voters coming out in droves”. [Continue reading…]

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