Trump vows to continue efforts for peace deal b/w Palestinians, Israel
- Author: Leroy Wright May 25, 2017,
May 25, 2017, 0:01
DONALD Trump has met with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank as the U.S. president seeks to restart peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. Trump is clearly more liked by Israel's leader than was Obama, but that is not, of course, a very high hurdle.
Mr Trump's hand lingered for an agonising moment before he opted to close the gap and briefly place it on the First Lady's backside instead.
"If Israelis and the Palestinians can make peace, it will begin a process of peace throughout the Middle East", he said without elaborating on any plans to restart talks. "I like you, too", Trump said in response.
He has notably toned down some of the pro-Israeli rhetoric from his presidential campaign since entering office in January, asking the Israeli government to "hold back" on settlement building and equivocating over his promise to move the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. "There is no other way".
The traditional U.S. position on Jerusalem is that the city's status must be negotiated between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
"President Trump is really, really serious and he thinks peace is possible".
Later on Tuesday, President Trump visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum and Institute in Jerusalem before heading for the Israel Museum where was to deliver an address. His daughter Ivanka, a convert to the Jewish religion, visited the wall as well. Trump is a Presbyterian.
This is the environment in which Trump hopes to convince Israeli and Palestinian leaders to come to the table. As well, it is the third holiest site in Sunni Islam, after Mecca and Medina. "He says he wants a solution but what solution?"
The president arrived at the wall Monday afternoon, donning a yarmulke, as is the tradition at Jewish holy sites.
The 10 Jews held their prayer-protest as Israelis commemorated Jerusalem Day, marking the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City following its capture in the Six-Day War of 1967. Since 1967, the global community-including the US -has refused to officially recognize eastern Jerusalem and its Jewish holy sites as part of Israel. The Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state.
Dozens of captives' families demonstrated on Tuesday in the Nativity arena during Trump's visit to the Church of Nativity.
We don't know if Melania Trump had a similar conversation with the wife of King Salman of Saudi Arabia at her previous stop on the administration's inaugural overseas trip.
(Photo: Haim Zach/GPO) President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem, May 22.
Reporters Without Borders, meantime, ranks Saudi Arabia a dismal 168 out of 180 countries in its World Press Freedom Index.
From Israel, Mr Trump departed for Italy for an audience with Pope Francis.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Palestinians Tuesday after their leader condemned the Manchester attack that they must end a law ensuring payments to suicide bombers if they are serious about combating terrorism. "There is a growing realization among your Arab neighbors that they have common cause with you in the threat posed by Iran, and it is indeed a threat, there's no question about that". He also promised that Iran would never be allowed to possess nuclear weapons. While the Israeli government approved of the attack, many Americans fear that the fall of Assad would bring a more extreme government to power in Syria - a concern that should be shared by Israel. "And let me say, the Israelis would love to have peace", Rubio said.
Nothing of the sort ever happened, mostly because Arafat reneged on almost all the promises he made at Oslo.
Demonstrators waving Palestinian flags, PFLP flags, as well as Hezbollah and Iranian flags rallied from Palestine Square to the prisoners' solidarity sit-in tent at Saraya Square, chanting against United States policies in the region. Well, I hope this heralds a real change, ' Netanyahu said.
Mr Trump's visit was less enthusiastically welcomed by sections of Palestinian society. Trump also laid a wreath during a ceremony. "Not with Donald J. Trump", he said.
Trump has not offered public indications that he has any such intentions.