Iran worries driving Arab states close to Israel

Rubio also said that if reports that Trump asked two of the government's top intelligence chiefs to publicly deny evidence of cooperation between his campaign and Russian Federation during the 2016 election are true, that could impact the future relationship between the White House and the intelligence community.

"Making peace however will not be easy", Trump told an audience of Israeli politicians and other dignitaries at the Israel Museum.

While the president reiterated his desire to broker a peace deal, his visit produced no announcement on steps toward renewing negotiations.

Noting how Trump did not mention Palestinian statehood or a two-state solution in his public remarks with Abbas, Member of Knesset Ofir Akunis (Likud) said, "This is a huge achievement, on a historic scale, and a big win for anyone opposed to the mistaken and unsafe idea of a Palestinian terror state in the heart of Israel". "And once the Palestinians will have their own state beside the state of Israel, then the Arab peace initiative can be implemented".

Meanwhile, ahead of Trump's meeting with Netanyahu in Jerusalem Monday, a live-streamed White House schedule stated Trump would deliver remarks in "Jerusalem, Israel", apparently recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the holy city despite Trump himself never affirming a change in USA policy.

Palestinians across the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip staged protests for days during his visit, including most recently on Tuesday where they also called for solidarity with the thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israel jails who have begun their sixth week of a hunger strike.

Barghouthi was convicted in Israeli courts of masterminding the murder of Israeli civilians and sentenced to multiple life terms. In a live stream of Trump's remarks with Netanyahu on Monday, the White House listed the meeting's location as "Jerusalem, Israel".

Abbas also spoke of Palestinian insistence that all "final status issues" be resolved "based on global law" and United Nations resolutions, as well as the Arab Peace Initiative first offered more than a decade ago.

Forgetting all about the Palestinian case is not the kind of change that the region wants or seeks.

"Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded", Trump said.

His speech at the Israel Museum touched on the Jewish connection to the Holy Land, earning applause from the audience, which included Sheldon Adelson, a U.S. billionaire and active political supporter of both Netanyahu and Trump. The problem is not between us and Judaism. Trump has until June 1 to decide whether to continue the practice.

Mr Trump's speech came after he met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank earlier in the day. This week, he traveled to Saudi Arabia and Israel to meet with leaders of United States' closest regional allies. But it's clear that, if such a test existed, Donald Trump would not be president - which he proved at a press conference in Israel on May 22.

Bethlehem is lively and crowded, home to Palestinian Muslims and Christians, and the Church of the Nativity, the Byzantine-era sacred site built over the grotto where the faithful believe Jesus was born.

Trump's attitude toward Israel is a sharp departure from his predecessor Barack Obama, who had sometimes tense relations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The American Embassy in Tel Aviv invited local settlement leaders to attend Trump's speech at the Israel museum, and they could find great comfort in his decision, not to mention the issue of Jewish settlements in the West Bank or to make any comment about the shape of the final-status solution to the conflict.

Some have also wondered whether Abbas, now a highly unpopular leader, has the ability to unite his people behind a deal Trump proposes, Estrin said.

Abbas said the Palestinians "are committed to working with [Trump] to reach a historic peace deal between us and Israel".

  • Leroy Wright