'Abbas told Trump he is ready to begin negotiations immediately'

"Mr Abbas assures me he is ready to work towards that goal in good faith, and Israeli Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu has promised the same".

Bethlehem/Jerusalem: US President Donald Trump met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem on Tuesday, a day after promising to make a renewed effort at peace between the Palestinians and Israelis.

After greeting Trump with a firm handshake, Hazan whipped out his phone and said: "I wish I could do a selfie with you".

In a joint appearance with Trump in Bethlehem, Abbas said the Palestinians wanted a peace agreement based on the two-state solution: a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem alongside Israel. Abbas said he welcomed Trump's "noble and possible mission".

"I can tell you that the Palestinians are ready to reach for peace", Trump said.

It said a Palestinian was shot and wounded by Israeli police in Netanya, northern Israel, for allegedly stabbing a policeman. At the prime minister's residence Monday evening, Trump praised Netanyahu, elected to his fourth term in 2015, for "working very hard at it".

There was no specific mention in any of Trump's remarks in Israel to "occupation" or the "two-state solution" - a pair of major sticking points for the Palestinians. The measures included extending the operating hours of the Allenby Bridge border crossing between the West Bank and Jordan, expanding a West Bank industrial zone and allowing Palestinian construction in areas of the West Bank under full Israeli control. "This is the time, 50 years on from the Six Day War, to shake off the heavy burden of millions of Palestinians and ensure the continued existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and homeland of the Jewish people for generations", he said, vowing his party's political support for peace talks.

Israelis had expected Trump to make some kind of a gesture regarding the status of Jerusalem.

The White House statement also said "President Trump and President Abbas reaffirmed their commitment to reach for a genuine and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis".

Trump arrived in Bethlehem in a motorcade, crossing a checkpoint at Israel's controversial separation wall, and was greeted by Abbas and other dignitaries outside the presidential palace, The Washington Examiner reported.

Israel and the Palestinians have not held direct talks for more than three years and Trump acknowledged it was "one of the toughest deals of all". Many, Israelis and Palestinians alike, believe that a two-state solution is never really was and certainly no longer is possible.

Just yesterday, Mrs Trump swatted him away on a red carpet in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Herzog then returned to the plenum again, reiterating his call for peace talks, before the session was dispersed. Many non-Arab Israelis fear the so-called demographic bomb, and that they would soon be outnumbered by those "reproducing Palestinians".

It later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the worldwide community and claims the entire city as its capital.

  • Leroy Wright