Trump adviser Bolton arrives for talks with Israeli PM

Trump adviser Bolton arrives for talks with Israeli PM
2 min read
19 August, 2018
Trump's ultra-hawk national security adviser John Bolton arrived in Israel for talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu amid heightened tensions in the area.
Bolton is popular among the Israeli far-right [Getty]

US President Donald Trump's national security adviser John Bolton arrived in Israel on Sunday for talks with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu amid heightened tensions in the area.

Bolton said on Twitter he was "looking forward to meeting with PM Netanyahu and other officials beginning today to discuss bilateral concerns and a range of national security issues".

Little details were released on Bolton's itinerary or his agenda for talks with Israeli officials, however a meeting with Netanyahu was set for Monday morning.

A US embassy official said the discussions with Netanyahu and other Israeli officials would include "regional security issues".

Israeli forces have killed more than 160 Palestinians since the Great Return March border protests began on 30 March, while more than 17,500 have been injured.

Israel on Sunday closed its only crossing for people with the Gaza Strip, days after its forces shot and killed two Palestinian protesters along the Israel-Gaza separation barrier. The only goods crossing was reopened just last week after closing it to most deliveries for more than a month. 

Pro-Israel hawk Bolton's visit comes a day after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas continued to reject the US as a mediator for the Palestine-Israel peace talks, adding that he will not meet with the US until it reverses its decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Israel and Trump's White House have shared concerns over Iran and its involvement in Syria, where Tehran is backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad along with Russia, and the topic is expected to be discussed in the meeting.

Israel has also lauded Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers along with the subsequent return of US sanctions on Tehran.

Netanyahu has held a series of recent talks with Putin on Iran's presence in Syria, pressing Moscow to guarantee that Iranian forces and their allies, such as the Lebanese militant group Hizballah, will be kept far away from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Bolton's visit comes as Egypt hopes to finalise the details of a long-term truce between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip after the escalation in violence, leading to fears of a fourth war.

Botlon previously visited Israel as undersecretary of state under president George W. Bush in 2004, where he held talks discussing sanctions against Iran. 

During his tenure as the US ambassador to the UN, Bolton tirelessly advocated for Israel against Iran. 

He also reportedly tried to convince former Israel Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz to carry out a pre-emptive strike on Iran in the mid 2000s.