Trump visits Israel's Holocaust Museum, hails Jewish people
- Author: Leroy Wright May 25, 2017,
May 25, 2017, 2:04
A succession of US presidents have attempted to negotiate peace between Israel and the Palestinians, whose modern-day conflict dates to the 1948 establishment of the Jewish state, and all have failed.
"Making peace however will not be easy", Trump told an audience of Israeli politicians and other dignitaries at the Israel Museum. And I say, "Hey, welcome aboard". Trump and Netanyahu never talked about a two-state solution to the problem, but Abbas did.
"I also firmly believe that if Israel and the Palestinians can make peace, it will begin a process of peace all throughout the Middle East, and that would be an awesome accomplishment", the US President said on the last day of his Middle East visit.
The president had arrived to Bethlehem in a 60-car convoy, which passed near the Israeli military towers.
Clashes broke out near a checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah involving several hundred stone-throwing youths and Israeli soldiers who responded with rubber bullets and tear gas, leaving at least one wounded.
The under-fire billionaire is due at the Vatican on Wednesday morning for a meeting with the pope, with whom he has clashed on numerous issues ranging from the plight of migrants to unbridled capitalism and climate change.
He had met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday. An explicit endorsement of a two-state solution, which has been USA policy for more than a quarter-century.
The status of Jerusalem is the subject of a longstanding US policy debate - and it showed during Trump's trip.
He has since said the move was still being looked at. "The Temple Mount and the Western Wall will forever remain under Israeli sovereignty", he later added.
Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, both of the pro-settlement Jewish Home party, voted against a measure to boost Palestinian building in Area C of the West Bank, which Israel fully governs.
Trump did, though, become the first sitting US president to visit the Western Wall. He was not accompanied by any Israeli leaders during the visit. It is Palestinians facing what could be the biggest mass expulsion in years from Jerusalem, again by right-wing settlers. Jerusalem is claimed by Palestinians for the future state they want to build, and isn't recognized internationally as Israel's capital.
Still, White House officials had downplayed the prospects for a breakthrough on this trip, saying it was important to manage their ambitions as they wade into terrain that has tripped up more experienced diplomats. The lack of substance from his team on this visit could mean they still haven't figured out their plans for the peace process, which collapsed three years ago - or that they're trying to soften up the sides with pledges of friendship, before demanding painful concessions toward an agreement.
The premier made the remarks in an address at a special Knesset session to mark Jerusalem Day and the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem after the Six Day War.