Trump visits Bethlehem: meets Palestinian delegation

Afterwards, he is expected to become the first sitting United States president to visit the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray and located in east Jerusalem.

"Just so you understand, I never mentioned the word or the name Israel", Trump told reporters in remarks carried by CNN.

Donald Trump has arrived in Israel on the second leg of his first foreign tour as USA president, declaring it as "a rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace" to the region. At Rivlin's residence, Trump lashed out at Iran.

Mr. President. You came here to Israel from Saudi Arabia.

'These leaders voice concerns we all share, ' Trump insisted, 'about ISIS, about Iran's rising ambitions and rolling back its gains, and about the menace of extremism that has spread through too many parts of the Muslim world'.

President Donald Trump arrived in Israel on Monday in the earliest-ever visit by a USA leader in a presidential term. Palestinians seek to make the eastern part of Jerusalem the capital of the independent state they hope to create.

The Western Wall visit drew controversy before Trump even left Washington, when USA officials declined to say whether it belonged to Israel.

Mr Trump said he was hopeful a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians would be possible.

Netanyahu, noting the significance of that flight, said one day he hoped an Israeli prime minister could fly directly to Riyadh.

Meanwhile, breaking longstanding tradition, Trump became the first sitting American president to ever visit the Old City of Jerusalem. The repeated failure of negotiations has led to increased Israeli settlement activity and even less territory on which a Palestinian state could potentially be established.

The dispute deepened the following day when Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, declined to say whether the Western Wall is in Israel, dismissing the question as "a policy decision" that he would not answer.

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas shake hands during a joint press conference at the presidential palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on May 23, 2017.

"In this land so rich in history, Israel has built one of the world's greatest civilizations, a strong, resilient determined prosperous nation, forged in the commitment that will never allow horrors of last century to be repeated", Trump said during a welcoming ceremony.

Trump continued to express confidence in assisting Israel and Palestine in reaching a peace accord. "This includes a renewed effort at peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians".

  • Leroy Wright