Trump Becomes First US President to Visit Jerusalem's Western Wall
- Author: Leroy Wright May 24, 2017,
May 24, 2017, 9:37
Many Palestinians seemed less than impressed by President Trump's brief foray into the West Bank on Tuesday for talks in the town of Bethlehem with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Expressing optimism that a peace deal could finally be brokered to end the almost 70-year-old conflict and suggested a resolution may not be hard to obtain it.
"I look forward to working with these leaders toward a lasting peace".
"I would like to reiterate our commitment to cooperate with you in order to make peace and forge an historic peace deal with the Israelis", he said, speaking through an interpreter.
The last talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, led by former U.S. secretary of state John Kerry, broke down in April 2014 after around a year of largely fruitless discussion.
But he also touched on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, again vowing he was "personally committed" to helping the two sides reach a deal.
But while Trump said earlier this month that he believed brokering peace is "maybe not as hard as people have thought", he measured his comments on Tuesday. "Making peace will not be easy".
He said Iran should have thanked the United States for the 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and world powers because it led to sanctions being lifted.
In typical fashion, the most interested parties-Israelis and Palestinians-were unanimously scandalized and dissatisfied by different aspects of Trump's tour.
Later Tuesday, Mr Trump will return to Jerusalem to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and give a speech at the Israel Museum before wrapping up his two-day stop and flying on to Europe.
"The cause of [the hunger strikers] is humane and just", he said, "I call on the Israeli government to meet their humane and legitimate demands", he added.
Trump previously said that his meeting with the Russian foreign minister was "very, very successful". They recited psalms. In contrast to Trump's usual bombastic style, it was a muted event, totally tweet-free. We'll negotiate it, in Jerusalem.
But his visit has also highlighted the continued tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.
It's a visit that I think has echoed down the ages because the late Abraham Lincoln is reported to have said that there was no city on Earth that he so much desired to see as Jerusalem.
The ancient stones are in a part of Jerusalem that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
It is a stark symbol for Palestinians of Israel's 50-year occupation of the West Bank, and in Bethlehem the wall has been covered with graffiti and street art.
It later annexed east Jerusalem and claims the entire city as its capital.
Trump heads next to Europe, where planned meetings with world leaders on the economy and trade could be overtaken with discussion of terrorism and security.
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