JERUSALEM, Israel – As Israel hosted U.S. President Donald Trump, the terrorist murder of kids in the U.K. underscored Israel's own security concerns. It was also a reminder of the Palestinian terror ties in the heart of the Middle East. Those events changed the landscape of a carefully crafted series of meetings.
At President Trump's meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, the president altered his prepared remarks.
"On behalf of the people of the United States, I would like to begin by offering my prayers for the people of Manchester in the United Kingdom," he said.
Following his strong speech against terrorism in Saudi Arabia, President Trump was fired up over the carnage in Manchester.
"This is what I've spent these last few days talking about during my trip overseas. Our society can have no tolerance for this continuation of bloodshed. We cannot stand a moment longer for the slaughter of innocent people," he said. "And today's attack, it was mostly innocent children. The terrorist extremists and those that give them aid and comfort must be driven out of our society forever."
This was clearly not the script Abbas had written for his time in Bethlehem with the president. But it was tailor made for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has tried to make the West understand that Israel cannot compromise on its security on the front lines of the terrorist war sometimes conducted by Palestinians.
Just last week, CBN News reported on the Palestinian practice of paying terrorists' salaries with U.S. tax dollars and naming town squares after suicide bombers.
Itamar Marcus with the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) says one such terrorist was Abu Sukkar, known as the "refrigerator bomber."
"What did he do to make himself famous? He took a bomb in a refrigerator, took it to Ben Yehuda Street in the center of Jerusalem, filled it with explosives, detonating it and killing 15 Israelis," Marcus told CBN News. "That makes him a Palestinian hero and there's a square in his name. Literally anyone who has killed a large number of Israelis is presented by the Palestinian leadership as a hero to their people."
From Bethlehem, the president moved on to Yad VaShem, Israel's memorial to victims of the ultimate act of mass terrorism, the Holocaust.
It was the final speech of his Israel trip at the Israel Museum where the president really connected with Israelis, scoring a direct bull's eye.
In his introductory remarks, Netanyahu thanked him for his "steadfast friendship to the Jewish people and the Jewish state," saying "it is deeply, deeply appreciated.
"Mr. President, over the years Israel has had many friends, but Israel has never had and will never have a better friend than the United States of America."
Trump said Israel could count on him.
"Israelis have experienced firsthand the hatred and terror of radical violence. Israelis are murdered by terrorists wielding knives and bombs. Hamas and Hezbollah launch rockets into Israeli communities, where school children have to be trained to hear the sirens and run to bomb shelters. ISIS targets Jewish neighborhoods, synagogues and storefronts. And Iran's leaders routinely call for Israel's destruction. Not with Donald J. Trump!" he said to sustained applause.