Unlikely Figures Praising President Trump's Israel, Middle East Trip
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 23, 2017,
May 23, 2017, 23:44
Wearing a black skull cap, he became the first sitting president to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, the most holy site at which Jews can pray. It's also known as the Temple Mount in Judaism, site of the first biblical temple of King Solomon and the second temple (of which the Western Wall was part). In the last eight years, the US has upgraded its standing in the Middle East and North Africa by several achievements, the nuclear deal with Iran in the P5+1 format being the most important of all.
The president arrived at the wall Monday afternoon, donning a yarmulke, as is the tradition at Jewish holy sites.
Trump's visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories is part of his first trip overseas as president, and follows an initial leg in Saudi Arabia, where he urged Islamic leaders to confront extremism.
Mr Trump has vowed to do whatever is necessary to broker peace, but has given little indication of how he could revive negotiations that collapsed in 2014.
Trump's visit made him the first sitting USA president to visit the wall, one of the region's holiest sites.
The Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. We'll negotiate it, in Jerusalem. Your leadership on this issue will certainly inspire additional countries to move their Embassy to Jerusalem as well.
Trump expressed optimism about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
During meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, Trump focused attention on the threat from Iran but also talked about the opportunities for peace in the region and how Saudi Arabia and other Arab states were shifting their stance, potentially opening a window for a peace agreement. An Israeli TV station quoted an American as telling the Israelis that the wall is not in Israeli territory, enraging Trump's Israeli hosts.
Trump called Jerusalem a "sacred city", but did not follow through on his campaign pledge to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the USA embassy to the city, which Trump called "the eternal capital of the Jewish people" during the campaign.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer, later asked about McMaster's comments, said "It's clearly in Jerusalem". "They are ready to reach for peace", Trump said.
But hours later, Nikki Haley, Trump's United Nations ambassador, asserted that the wall is part of Israel.
"I think (Trump) feels like there's a moment in time here", Tillerson told reporters traveling with the president on Air Force One. Barack Obama previously visited the Western Wall as a presidential candidate, and had his prayer note stolen and published.
"The United States and Israel can declare with one voice that Iran must never be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon - never ever - and must cease its deadly funding, training and equipping of terrorists and militias", Trump said in his remarks at Rivlin's residence.