Trump visits Jerusalem to seek paths to Israeli-Palestinian peace

Trump shocked longtime observers of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process earlier this year when he declined to endorse a two-state solution to the conflict, breaking with stated USA policy under his past two predecessors.

The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

President Donald Trump has declared in the past that finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is "maybe not as hard as people have thought".

Trump is expected to shake only the hands of Netanyahu and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

At 6:00 PM, Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will sit down for a short closed-door meeting and 45 minutes later, the two will conduct a meeting that will be covered by the media.

Trump has talked a lot about the importance of walls and as he makes his way to the West Bank city of Bethlehem to meet with Abbas, Trump will confront one perhaps even more controversial than the one he has vowed to build on the US-Mexico border.

TRT World's Nicole Johnston reports from Jerusalem on what both sides expect from the trip. But Trump told Netanyahu during a meeting in February that he would like to see Israel "hold off" until their governments could establish a mutually agreeable policy on the matter. And Palestinian activists are calling for demonstrations during Trump's visit to the West Bank.

It has been a complex diplomatic balancing act for every USA negotiating team in the Middle East as the status of Jerusalem has always been considered the thorniest of so-called "final status" issues that can be decided only in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

So, what's on the agenda during his eight-day tour that takes in the capitals of the three major monotheistic religions - Islam, Judaism and Christianity?

"Over 10,000 police officers taking part in the two-day police operation, including counterterrorist units, special patrol units, undercover units, and all the areas where the president will be visiting will be shut down, on lockdown, throughout the visit", said Micky Rosenfeld of the Israeli Police. But complicating the issue for the Trump administration is the president's promise during the campaign to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which would be a de facto recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Mr Trump's trip also comes days after it was reported that the president had leaked to Russia's foreign minister classified intelligence information said to have come from an Israeli source. On Monday in Jerusalem, he will pray at the Western Wall and visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. 20 Secret Service agents will be accompanying the USA president throughout his entire visit.

Dr. Itzhak Brook, a professor of pediatrics and medicine at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., spoke at the Jewish Community Center on Youngstown's North Side on Sunday during a program titled Celebrate Jerusalem Day, which focused on the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, a significant outcome of the war.

Senior Saudi officials expressed optimism over the success of Trump's unconventional approach and point to the 2002 Arab Peace initiative as the start of the solution.

US President Donald Trump visits Jerusalem on Monday to seek ways to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace.

An Israeli-Palestinian agreement is not an end in itself, except perhaps for those negotiators who will forever trade on having cinched one.

  • Carolyn Briggs