Israel marks 50 years of "united Jerusalem", but city struggles
- Author: Leroy Wright May 25, 2017,
May 25, 2017, 6:16
I welcome you in Palestine, the holy land, wishing you success in your important tour, which will lead you to meeting his holiness the Pope Francis, whose dedicated, devoted efforts to peace we appreciate.
The White House said that in talks with Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday, "President Trump underscored the United States' ironclad commitment to Israel's security, including to the maintenance of Israel's qualitative military edge".
"I am committed to trying to achieve a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians and I intend to do everything I can to help them achieve that goal".
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".
Netanyahu is reportedly meeting with United States envoy representative Jason Greenblatt on Thursday in Jerusalem to continue discussions that took place during Trump's visit in Israel.
To this point only having mentioned Israel, and not the West Bank, the article declares: "The president's visit will include a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust remembrance center, Bethlehem and the Western Wall".
Phased over a 10-year period, U.S. administration officials say it is the biggest single arms deal in American history.
Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was caught on microphone badmouthing the media to President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, shortly after the two landed in Tel Aviv (video below).
But Isaac Herzog, the opposition leader and the head of the Labor Party, said that Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and adviser on the Middle East, told him that the United States meant to follow up quickly with a process moving toward an agreement.
The President spoke of the hard battle for the city, and of the moments he heard the Old City had been secured under Israeli control.
Palestinians had been holding a protest outside the Church, the celebrated birthplace of Jesus Christ, in solidarity with over 1,500 prisoners now on hunger strike in Israeli jails.
Despite this, Trump also pledged his support for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
The leftwing Israel Policy Forum (IPF) praised Trump for "the sentiments expressed in his speech today in Jerusalem urging both sides to resolve their conflict and make peace within a larger regional framework". They said if Trump managed to convince each side to call the other's bluff for long enough, he might just end up making significant progress toward peace. It dates back to the Arab Peace Initiative, first presented by the League of Arab States in 2002, and is based on the promise that the Arab states will normalize their relations with Israel once the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved.
If there is any substance, secrecy may be all the more essential for Netanyahu because most of his current Cabinet members oppose any far-reaching concessions to the Palestinians or the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Naftali Bennett, leader of the rightist Jewish Home party, a key member of Netanyahu's governing coalition, summed up the prevailing mood among officials in the wake of Trump's visit.
While Israel regards all of Jerusalem as its "eternal and indivisible" capital, the Palestinians want the east of the city, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war, as the capital of their future state.