Trump Arrives in Bethlehem, Meets Palestinian President

Abbas has also expressed optimism over Trump's push for restarting peace talks: "The US president is interested and enthusiastic and has a vision for a political solution, and we are going along with him".

Trump said that he will exert all possible efforts to achieve a peace deal between Palestinians and Israelis, stressing that "he is looking forward to working with President Abbas to support Palestinian economy".

Netanyahu had a hard time getting his hawkish Cabinet to pass relatively simple gestures toward the Palestinians on Sunday night ahead of Trump's visit, and bigger concessions could jeopardize his governing coalition.

The only credible ideas still require the creation of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel.

"Our society can have no tolerance for this continuation of bloodshed", Trump said.

He says "that would be an incredible accomplishment".

After the wreath-laying ceremony, Trump will deliver an address at the Israel Museum to the Israeli people.

Over the weekend, Trump received a warm welcome from Arab leaders, who focused on his desire to crack down on Iran's influence in the region, a commitment they found wanting in the Republican president's Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.

Trump was reacting to a story by the Washington Post that said Trump had disclosed sensitive information to Russian foreign minister in a meeting at the Oval office.

While initially the U.S. president was to squeeze in more religious tourism with a visit to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem's Manger Square, this plan was scrapped when it emerged that he would have to pass a protest tent erected in support of the Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike.

He also pointed out that there are several hundred detainees in Israeli jails who are on an open ended hunger strike, and urged Israel to end their suffering. As he spoke, the death toll in the attack at an Ariana Grande concert had climbed to 22. "We cannot stand a moment longer for the slaughter of innocent people, and in today's attack it was mostly innocent children".

"This wicked ideology must be obliterated".

Trump and Abbas met earlier this month at the White House.

Mr Trump and Mr Abbas.

A senior Palestinian official says he expects President Donald Trump's visit to the Holy Land to reopen a path toward resuming long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

In statements after their meeting in Jerusalem on Monday, the Israeli prime minister emphasized the importance of the city to Jews, calling it their "eternal capital" and the "united capital of the Jewish state".

Trump's brief journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem offered a visual reminder of the complexities of the conflict. Israel's Cabinet pre-empted this by adopting a series of measures created to alleviate the economic challenges facing Palestinians under occupation in the West Bank.

Rounding out a 28-hour stay in Jerusalem, Trump praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas alike, saying both were ready for peace.

The President's 9 day trip includes stops in Saudi Arabia and a trip to the Vatican to meet with the Pope.

Trump and his family on Monday visited the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews pray in Jerusalem. When Donald Trump extended his hand to the First Lady, she smacked it away making it clear she does not want to hold his hand. And he sent a signal of solidarity to an ally he's pushing to work harder toward peace with the Palestinians.

Instead, Trump has pitched himself as a "mediator, an arbitrator or a facilitator" to help both sides to reach a lasting peace settlement and has resisted stating must-have aspects of such a deal.

At a press conference, a reporter asked Netanyahu about intelligence cooperation between the USA and Israel.

  • Leroy Wright