Trump's Chopper Couldn't Land On Israeli Site, So He's Not Going There

Share

President Trump apparently changed his mind about delivering a speech at a UNESCO World Heritage site in Israel after he learned he couldn't land his helicopter there, Newsweek reported Thursday.

Unlike former presidents who have made the trip, such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Trump declined to land the helicopter at a base of the historic site and then take the cable auto up, preferring to cancel the visit altogether.

The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday that Trump would not be able to land a helicopter on top of the fortress and would need to take a cable auto up the mountain instead, as former President George W. Bush did when he visited.

The reason for the regulation is that helicopters on approach create dust, making landing at the desert site 1,300 feet above sea level precarious.

Campbell told the Jerusalem Post that helicopters have been barred from landing atop Masada since the 1990s, as sand and gusts of wind thrown up by the propellers cause "damage to the antiquities".

More news: Laptop ban on flights to US 'likely' to expand

The Masada is one of Israel's most important historic sites.

President Trump has cancelled a visit and a planned speech at the Masada National Park because he was not allowed to arrive using his helicopter.

Since then, authorities have banned planes or helicopters from landing at the site and visitors have had to use cable cars or walk up 100 steps to get to the top.

News of the president's cancellation stirred reactions among observers of the American-Israeli relationship and officials inside the country.

Trump reportedly "expressed dread" about the trip's length. Trump will visit the Western Wall alone and without Prime Minister Netanyahu and the visit will be deemed a private visit which is not under Israeli responsibility. The move angered Israel and officials asked the White House for an explanation. To protect himself in case of a revolt, he built two palaces to act as a fortress. The then-roman governor Lucius Silva made a decision to attack Masada, where Jewish rebels known as the Sicarri - a notorious bunch who were known for killing other Jews - were hiding. Nine hundred and sixty were killed in the mass suicide and only two women and five children were found alive.

Share