Donald Trump: Israeli-Palestinian peace deal could spread throughout region
- Author: Salvatore Jensen May 23, 2017,
May 23, 2017, 17:12
U.S. President Donald Trump and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shake hands as they conclude their remarks after their meeting at the Presidential Palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on May 23, 2017. Unlike past United States presidents who have drawn clear lines for both sides to follow in order to achieve a deal, Trump has offered little - if not inconsistent - public guidance for the Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
Allowing them to do so could have led to accusations that Washington was implicitly recognizing Israel's unilateral claim of sovereignty over the site, which would break with years of U.S. and worldwide precedent.
The walled Old City lies in East Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel from Jordan in the Six-Day War 50 years ago.
Husam Zumlot, a former adviser to Abbas who is now the Palestinian ambassador in Washington, said the contours of any deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians were well known to both sides.
Mr Abbas said he was keen to "keep the door open to dialogue with our Israeli neighbours".
But even as Trump points to a behind the scenes rapprochement between Israel and Arab countries in the Middle East and with his advisers insisting the new U.S. administration is approaching the conflict differently from those that preceded it, the political conditions between Israelis and Palestinians appear largely unchanged.
Given the competing claims, the USA says the city's fate must be worked out through negotiations and like most countries, it maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem.
After Israel and the Palestinian territories, Trump will head to the Vatican, and to Brussels and Italy for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and G7 meetings.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan informed Trump of a possible attack in Tel Aviv that transpired while the president was airborne.
Trump was accompanied by the Western Wall's rabbi, Shmuel Rabinovitz, during his visit.
He called it a "great honor" to be the first sitting president to visit the holy site. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked to join Trump on his visit of the Western Wall, but was rebuffed.
Trump and Netanyahu in particular lavished praise on each other during their multiple meetings.
Trump was returning to Jerusalem later Tuesday to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and deliver remarks. The Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
Trump placed a note in the ancient stones of Jerusalem's Western Wall.
"The terrorists and extremists and those who give them aid and comfort must be driven out from our society forever", the president said in Bethlehem on Tuesday, standing alongside Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Or does it? The White House last week published a map of Trump's tour in a video which infuriated Israelis by showing the nation's pre-1967 borders, excluding East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Golan Heights, and the Gaza strip.
Speaking in the aftermath of an deadly bombing attack in Britain, Trump made a brief mention of the "losers" who perpetrate such actions.
Yet Trump himself brought up a source of criticism.