Trump makes personal appeal for Mideast peace
- Author: Leroy Wright May 24, 2017,
May 24, 2017, 9:19
"What's happened with Iran has brought numerous parts of the Middle East toward Israel", Trump said in public remarks at a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
Trump also condemned Monday night's deadly explosion at a concert in England, calling those who carried out the attack "evil losers".
The trip also managed to produce plenty of awkward moments involving Trump and his administration - there were some unfortunate typos, a failed attempt at holding the first lady's hand (which went viral) and two geographic flubs. During his brief visit, he met with leaders of Israel and the PA (Palestinian Authority).
"The Palestinians are ready to reach for peace. But with determination, compromise and the belief that peace is possible, Israelis and Palestinians can make a deal".
On a visit to the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem, the president and first lady Melania Trump laid a wreath on a stone slab under which ashes from some of those killed in concentration camps are buried.
Before leaving, Trump signed the guest book with a short message in which he gushed about the museum being "so wonderful". This is when Yair Netanyahu opened up to both Donald and Melania about understanding the hard time Barron is facing with his father being the president of the United States. "The secretary of state has done an incredible job".
After leaving the Middle East on Tuesday afternoon (Tuesday morning here), Trump is headed to Europe where he is expected to visit Brussels, the headquarters of the European Union (EU). Trump and his team carried off a complex balancing act with reassuring messages for Israelis, Palestinians, and the GOP foreign-policy establishment: "Relax, we got this". For example, Israel's government was hoping that Trump was going to quickly announce the move of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which Israel considers its capital city, rather than Tel Aviv, which is recognized by the "international community" as Israel's capital.
Their talks came with hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails on hunger strike since April 17, which Abbas referred to in his remarks after meeting Trump. The Western Wall is all that is left of the second Jewish temple, destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70.
Critics, like Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America, insisted that Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv, is Judaism's historical and spiritual home.
Thank you for such a wonderful and unforgettable visit, Prime Minister @Netanyahu and @PresidentRuvi.
"I like you too", Trump said when the audience quieted.
The sentence itself sounded unusual, but the fact that Melania is actually Trump's third wife is what made it cringeworthy.
Unlike Trump, Abbas sounded explicit in his support for a two-state solution and an end to Israeli military rule over the Palestinian territories.
After mentioning threats to Israel from Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran, he said, "not with Donald J. Trump", drawing enthusiastic applause.
The president did make one concession to the Palestinians, which will have come as a disappointment to the more right-wing elements in the ruling coalition.
She also got involved in a four-way hand hold with Netanyahu, his wife Sara and her husband, with the four laying their hands on top of one another as they posed for a press photo.
"We have a lot in common, Donald and I", she told Melania Trump.