In Mideast, Trump Says Israel, Arab Nations Share "Common Cause" Against Iran
- Author: Leroy Wright May 25, 2017,
May 25, 2017, 8:40
The holy city is contested by both sides as their capital.
Trump's visit to Jerusalem has been laden with religious symbolism.
During his whirlwind visit to Israel and the West Bank on Monday and Tuesday, the USA leader was treated with the deference befitting a CEO.
The initiative was most recently re-confirmed by Arab foreign ministers at a summit in the Jordanian Dead Sea resort of Sweimeh in March hosted by Jordanian King Abdullah II, and attended by Saudi Arabia's King Salman, Egypt's president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi as well as head of Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas.
Trump called Jerusalem a "sacred city", but did not follow through on his campaign pledge to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the U.S. embassy to the city, which Trump called "the eternal capital of the Jewish people" during the campaign. The Palestinian Arabs, on the other hand, see east Jerusalem as the capital of their desired state.
Earlier, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told Trump that Israel was honored to welcome a partner in both business and peace.
"We stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom", Trump said, in his first comment on the Monday night attack at a concert Manchester, England. "He wants peace", the US President said.
In their remarks on Tuesday, none of the leaders mentioned what specific steps they might take toward achieving peace.
In a speech toward the end of his visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, Trump offered a forceful defence of the Jewish state and pledged to protect the country against common enemies, including Iran.
"The majority of the people of Israel, unlike the media, they love us, so we tell them how you are courageous and they love you", Sara Netanyahu said to Trump and his wife. The global community doesn't recognize Israeli sovereignty over east Jerusalem and Palestinians regard it as the future capital of an independent Palestinian state.
"We'll talk about it in dinner", Sara Netanyahu told Trump.
Mr Trump added: "Our society can have no tolerance for this continuation of bloodshed".
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.
And, at Israel's Vad Vashem Holocaust memorial, Trump displayed a sense of gravitas, calling Nazi Germany's extermination of 6 million Jews "the most savage crime against God and his children". Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley declared the site part of Israel, while secretary of state Rex Tillerson on Monday dodged the question. Hopefully, what Trump experiences there will harden his resolve that America should not entangle itself in any multilateral trade deals such as the ones that led to the European super-state, with its reduction in liberties for the people of the EU.