Trump talks peace while selling weapons

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government wanted to hear Donald Trump announce he's moving the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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.

In a much-awaited speech at the Israel Museum, Trump pledged unstinting support for Israel, vowed that he would prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and asserted that Israeli and Palestinian leaders were ready to make peace.

On his part, Trump stressed the need to forge a historic peace deal, without mentioning any reference to the two-state solution or to an independent Palestinian state. It is the Israeli settler gleefully handing out candy to passers-by to celebrate the shooting - one killed, one injured - of two Palestinian supporters of the strikers.

From Israel, Mr Trump departed for Italy for an audience with Pope Francis.

That would be consistent with Trump's final hours in Israel and the West Bank.

Speaking alongside Trump in Bethlehem earlier on Tuesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the fundamental problem for the Palestinians is with the Israeli occupation and settlements and Israel's failure to recognize Palestine.

Speaking at the Israel Museum Trump said "We know that peace is possible if we put aside the pain and disagreements of the past and commit together to finally resolving this crisis which has dragged on for almost half a century".

The President said that only when remembering the families "torn apart from everyone they loved, who suffered that awful darkness and evil, who endured the unbearable horror of the Holocaust, only then can we prevent this agony from ever repeating".

During his election campaign, Trump also advocated breaking with decades of precedent and moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, alarming Palestinians. "I will call them from now on losers because that's what they are", he said. What he didn't say, however, was just as meaningful as what he did: No announcement of fresh peace talks, no specifics on the way forward, no comment on the competing claims to Jerusalem, no mention of a Palestinian state. While he met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, the United States president made no mention of Palestinian statehood or the United States embassy move during his visit. "We are ready to open dialogue with our Israeli neighbors to build confidence and create a real opportunity for peace", he said after talks with Trump. Abbas said he welcomed Trump's "noble and possible mission".

Netanyahu was addressing the Knesset for a special session marking Jerusalem Day, the anniversary of Israel's capture of the city's eastern half, which includes Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites, from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast War.

"Mr. Prime Minister, this is the time to go to a fearless and historic process to separate from the Palestinians and the implementation of the vision of two states for two peoples". Netanyahu's praise for Trump and his policy realignment is significant in light of his strained relationship with President Barack Obama.

The president continued his lengthy overseas trip today, ending his stay in Israel and a visit to the West Bank.

  • Salvatore Jensen