Video: Trump talks peace while selling weapons

On Monday I spoke to Aaron Maté of The Real News about Donald Trump’s first overseas visit as US president.

Watch the video above.

Trump spent two days in Saudi Arabia, where he announced massive weapons deals with an absolute monarchy that has been leading a devastating US-backed bombing campaign against Yemen, killing thousands of civilians over the last two years.

A Saudi-led blockade has caused hunger to millions of Yemenis and brought the country to the brink of famine.

Yemen now faces a cholera epidemic that is spreading rapidly out of control.

The announcement of Trump’s initial $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia sent the stocks of weapons makers soaring.

Israeli-Saudi alliance

On Monday, Trump flew from Saudi Arabia to Israel. He then visited the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, both in occupied East Jerusalem, and held press conferences with Israeli leaders.

On Tuesday, Trump returned to the occupied West Bank for a cursory meeting with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem.

In a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump acknowledged what has long been known: that Israel and Saudi Arabia have formed a tacit alliance whose main target is Iran.

The warming ties between Israel and US-aligned Arab regimes has come at the expense of solidarity with Palestinians.

“There is a growing realization among your Arab neighbors that they have common cause with you in the threat posed by Iran, and it is indeed a threat, there’s no question about that,” Trump said.

But Israeli officials were reportedly displeased that Trump tied the future of Israel’s relationship with authoritarian Sunni sectarian regimes to progress on making peace with the Palestinians.

According to The New York Times, Netanyahu’s flirtation with the Saudis and other regional governments is aimed at “subordinating the Palestinian dispute as a secondary issue.”

Trump’s comments, the newspaper added, in effect tied “the future of the anti-Iran coalition to the Palestinian issue despite Mr. Netanyahu’s longtime efforts to unlink the two.”

Trump reportedly emphasized in private talks with Israeli leaders that Arab rulers had told him they would take further steps to normalize ties with Israel if the “peace process” makes progress.

Occupation violence unabated

Since his election, Trump has repeatedly declared his desire to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but has done nothing in practice to make that remotely plausible.

Israel continues to seize Palestinian land for Jewish-only colonization and to violently suppress the Palestinian population with no consequences from the United States.

On Monday, a 16-year-old Palestinian boy from Bethlehem was shot dead by Israeli occupation forces who claimed he attempted to stab a soldier at a checkpoint in the West Bank. No Israelis were injured.

At least 20 more Palestinians were shot and injured across the West Bank by Israeli forces suppressing demonstrations in support of Palestinian hunger strikers.

Palestinians also observed a general strike on Monday.

Palestinians held protests in the Gaza Strip as well, and one was reportedly shot and injured by Israeli fire across the boundary fence.

As Trump posed for photo opportunities and was scheduled to enjoy dinner at Netanyahu’s official residence on Monday night, more than 1,300 Palestinians were on their 36th day of hunger strike in Israeli prisons.

Dozens, their health sharply deteriorating, have been moved to hospitals and field clinics by Israeli authorities, who continue to reject their demands for basic rights, including family visits, an end to solitary confinement and adequate medical care.

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I heard dt's voice saying, "We are going (pause) to give you (pause) such (pause) beautiful military weapons." Heard it on the radio. Anyone have this recording? Source? I only listen to WRTI, public radio, Philadelphia, PA

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Excellent exposition both in video and print formats.

It has been stated elsewhere that the volume of arms sales to Saudi Arabia long ago surpassed a level which could be characterised as absurd. The kingdom is so awash in high performance weaponry- if indeed these shipments are even delivered, a point worth considering- that the entire process serves primarily the U.S. manufacturers' own corporate goals. The Saudi military cannot absorb the weapons and systems involved in these transactions. The regime's air force is known to resort to hiring Pakistani pilots because it doesn't trust its own subjects at the controls of fighter planes and bombers. These gargantuan arms deals are a way to cement political and economic relations between the Saudis and the West, to recirculate excess profits from the sale of oil and natural gas, and to maintain a deep convergence with U.S. policy. In this respect, it's almost comical to see American liberals styling themselves "the Resistance" and demanding an investigation of Trump's alleged ties to Vladimir Putin. If they were serious about rooting out foreign influence in their elections, they would be focusing on Israel and the Saudis. That wasn't Vladimir Putin being greeted rapturously by both houses of Congress. The campaign donations from Israeli surrogates (and threats to withhold them) prove decisive in every level of political life in the United States. And as for the Saudis wielding influence, that picture grows clearer by the day.

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It is reported that the whole trip was engineered by Trump so he could hide his tax returns in a deep crack in the Western Wall.That,s why he insisted on praying alone.

He believes that not even the folks at the Inland revenue can get at them there and that the Wall is leak proof.

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The true forkèd-tongue - Trump! War and Peace. But worse, even - is that it gives freedom to other weapons' producing countries seen as buddies of the US to leap onto the weapons selling bandwagon. That same day here in my own US kowtowing country - Australia - alas - PM Trumble's crowd was immediately shouting opportunities for making profits by selling like WMD to the Middle East (meaning - no doubt - Saudi Arabia and Israel) since we have already offered up our young men and woman to support the illegal war activities of the US as their most loyal acolytes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria - hideous - all of it. Our Australian politicians (of both sides) regularly go on Israeli-govt-funded junkets to Israel to prove their fealty - duped of course for fear of being seen as anti-Semitic - but in reality propping up the dreadful abuse of occupied Palestine by that Likudnik fascist Netanyahu.

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.