Trump urges Israelis and Palestinians: Make peace

Donald Trump, with his apparent lack of interest both in policy detail and in pretending the a neutral party, could be uniquely qualified to accomplish what has eluded his predecessors. He did not weigh in Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem or even whether the U.S. would continue to insist on a two-state solution giving the Palestinians sovereign territory. "I won't call them monsters because they would like that term", Trump said in a joint news conference with Abbas on the second day of the USA president's two-day visit to Israel and the West Bank.

Trump arrived in Bethlehem on Tuesday after weekend meetings with Saudi Arabian leaders in Riyadh, and a meeting in Jerusalem on Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"Our Palestinian people's attainment of their freedom and independence is key to peace and stability in the world", said the 82-year-old Mr. Abbas, whose popularity among Palestinians has been declining.

From its earliest days, the fundamental premise behind the Israeli-Palestinian peace process was that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was finally ready to put down its guns, give up its dream of destroying Israel, and compromise. We all know that.

The president spoke about signs he's sees that both sides are serious about wanting peace between their peoples. He also faces difficulties at home, where he is struggling to contain a scandal after firing James Comey as Federal Bureau of Investigation director two weeks ago.

He has appointed his son-in-law, Mr Jared Kushner, as a senior adviser on brokering an agreement.

The last talks, led by former United States president Barack Obama, collapsed in 2014.

But he also vowed he was "personally committed" to helping Israel reach a deal with the Palestinians, while backtracking from previous claims that could be easier than thought to achieve.

For its part, Abbas's Fatah party is at sharp odds with the Islamist group Hamas, which is in power in Gaza, leaving no unified Palestinian position on peace.

Trump travelled to Saudi Arabia before Israel where he met King Salman. He travelled eight km south from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank, to see Abbas. The visit made him the first sitting USA president to visit the disputed site, which an aide had earlier described as located in the occupied West Bank, to Israeli officials' chagrin.

On a visit to the Yad Vashem memorial, the president and first lady Melania Trump laid a wreath on a stone slab under which ashes of those killed in concentration camps are buried.

"It's so interesting that our meeting took place on this very awful morning of death to innocent young people", Mr. Trump said.

According to the Jewish calendar, the anniversary falls on May 24 this year, even though the anniversary for most of the world will be on June 5, when the war began in 1967.

Now we must work together to build a future where the nations of the region are at peace, and all of our children can grow and grow up strong and grow up free from terrorism and violence.

"He did not weigh in Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem or even whether the USA would continue to insist on a two-state solution giving the Palestinians sovereign territory".

Despite this, Trump also pledged his support for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. He's in the Middle East on his first overseas trip. It also urges a "just settlement" of the Palestinian refugee problem.

Yes, English isn't Netanyahu's first language, but the Israeli prime minister made a particularly awkward comment during an address at the Israel Museum.

  • Leroy Wright