At least five people have been injured, two seriously, after a car drive into crowds of people in Tel Aviv moments before Donald Trump was due to arrive in the country.
The incident is said to have happened in Nachalt Binyamin Mall.
The president is set to land at Ben Gurion International Airport on Monday for a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.It was later described as being an accident, but the country is on edge ahead of Trump’s visit to the country.
Saudi Arabia doesn’t recognise Israel and the two states don’t have diplomatic relations. There are no direct flights between the two countries and flights from either country bypass the other’s airspace.
An Israel Airport Authority spokesman says that he was not aware of any direct flights ever having landed in Israel from the kingdom.
Having declared that finding a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict is ‘maybe not as difficult as people have thought,’ President Donald Trump will make his first visit to Israel with few concrete ideas of solving a problem that has vexed presidents for decades.
While hosting Abbas at the White House in March, Trump boldly stated that achieving peace is ‘something that I think is, frankly, maybe not as difficult as people have thought over the years.’
‘But we need two willing parties,’ he continued. ‘We believe Israel is willing. We believe you’re willing. And if you both are willing, we’re going to make a deal.’
White House aides have tried to play down expectations for significant progress on the peace process during Trump’s stop, casting it as more symbolic than substantive. Yet Trump may still need to engage in some delicate diplomacy following revelations that he disclosed highly classified intelligence Israel obtained about the Islamic State group with top Russian officials, without Israel’s permission.
Israel also has expressed concern about the $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia that Trump announced Saturday in Riyadh. Yuval Steinitz, a senior Cabinet minister and Netanyahu confidant, called Saudi Arabia ‘a hostile country’ and said the deal was ‘definitely something that should trouble us.’
Trump has handed son-in-law Jared Kushner and longtime business lawyer Jason Greenblatt the assignment of charting the course toward a peace process. The White House-driven effort is a sharp shift from the practice of U.S. previous administrations that typically gave secretaries of state those reins.