Old City bathed in blue and white ahead of Jerusalem Day

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley raised eyebrows this week when she declared that the Western Wall in Jerusalem is part of Israel and renewed the call made by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign previous year that the United States should move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Trump, who arrived in Saudi Arabia Saturday on his first foreign tour since taking office, is set to visit Israel on Monday and the occupied Palestinian territories on Tuesday. Nineteen percent of respondents did not know, up from 8 percent.

A pair of veteran Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, who endured repeated failures, expressed rare optimism about President Donald Trump's efforts to strike a Mideast peace deal.

"We will pray that the Holy Spirit inspire President Trump and the leaders of Israel and Palestine to see that the future can not be walls and fear but only bridges and dialogue, pardon, reconciliation and the recognition of the rights and dignity of all", he said.

The president will also go to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis who has said he will not make any judgments about Trump before meeting him. "It is something that I think is frankly, maybe, not as hard as people have thought over the years".

Erekat said a Palestinian state without east Jerusalem as its capital would have "no meaning".

"This is the most appropriate way to show the proper deference to such a significant holy site", a State Department official said.

"In President Trump's world view Israel is attacked because it's a Jewish state and America was and continues to be attacked because it's a Christian nation". Administration officials have since dodged the specific question of whether or not the US recognizes the Western Wall as part of Israel, though legally speaking the answer has always been no.

And yet on February 2, two weeks before Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington, Mr. Trump made it clear he would not condone unfettered building in the West Bank.

"I think most Israelis and the prime minister as well see President Trump as a welcome change to the previous USA administration, especially with regards to the basic entity of Israel and with regards to security and other matters", said Zalman Shoval, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States and onetime adviser to Netanyahu.

In addition to sending Friedman to Tel Aviv, Trump tapped his former real-estate attorney Jason Greenblatt to help manage the peace process with the Palestinians.

Herzog said he was hopeful Trump would "bring with him what I call "a break-the-impasse" " proposal for peace talks. "There was never a president who came to Israel during the first few months of his term, and there was never a visit by an Israeli prime minister so early on his term".

He cast uncertainty over years of global efforts to foster a two-state solution when he met Netanyahu at the White House in February.

Tillerson said Trump "has taken a very deliberative approach to understanding the issue itself, listening to input from all interested parties in the region, and understanding, in the context of a peace initiative, what impact would such a move have". "This vision is based on exchanging a lot of Palestinian lands", the official said.

  • Zachary Reyes