Awkward! Donald Trump gaffe prompts Israeli Ambassador to face-palm during meeting

At a joint appearance with Donald Trump, Netanyahu clobbered Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for the payments that are at odds with the principles he outlined earlier in the day at his own meeting with the US president.

President Trump stressed the deep and longstanding ties between the US and Israel during a speech in Jerusalem this morning.

US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday hailed their countries' friendship and reiterated their commitment to working with Arab leaders to bring an end to violence in the region, with a special emphasis on the threat they say is posed by Tehran.

On the other side of the barrier, a large sign bearing photographs of Mr Trump and Mr Abbas against a backdrop of American and Palestinian flags greeted the United States president.

Ahead of his visit to the Middle East, the second leg of a nine-day tour that began in Saudi Arabia and will move on to the Vatican, Italy and Belgium, administration officials indicated that Trump might talk about "Palestinian self-determination", a nod towards the ultimate objective of statehood.

Trump is scheduled to pay a brief visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, where he will lay a wreath, before heading to the nearby Israel Museum to give a major speech.

President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to drive home his call for Middle East peace as he left the region after visiting Saudi Arabia and Israel. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking to reporters on Air Force One, said the U.S. could provide clarifications to Israel about what happened but said, "I don't know that there's anything to apologize for".

"We must be resolute in condemning such acts in a single unified voice", Trump said, seeming to allude to criticism from Israel that Palestinians are too hesitant to condemn attacks initially.

"We love Israel", Trump said in prepared remarks delivered on the tarmac.

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. More likely, Netanyahu said, that bomber "would have received a stipend from the Palestinian Authority".

"In this spirit of hope, we come to Bethlehem, asking God for a more peaceful, safe and more tolerant world for all". Both sides will face tough decisions.

"Israel is a testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people", Mr. Trump said.

For two days here, Trump has been touting his hope for peace - despite warnings from experts on the region who have hinted that now is not the right time to restart negotiations.

In effect, it would offer Israel recognition by the Arab world and the "normalisation" of relations in exchange for a full withdrawal from the territory Israel has occupied since the June 1967 war, including East Jerusalem.

Israel considers the entire city its united capital.

The visit raised questions about whether the USA would indicate the site is Israeli territory.

  • Leroy Wright