In his four-day tour of the Middle East, President Donald Trump touted the “ultimate” peace deal.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had sought to accompany Trump to the Western Wall.
But in his public remarks, Trump steered clear of any such language, and did not mention what has been the goal of U.S. diplomacy for two decades: a state of Israel and an independent Palestinian state co-existing side-by-side. The White House also referred to Abbas as president of “Palestine” in a schedule, despite the fact that the US does not recognize a Palestinian state. He said both sides are ready to resume talks. So we tell them how you are great so they love you.
His visit to Palestine included delivering remarks in front of a backdrop of Palestinian flags, but Trump didn’t mention a two-state solution, as has been mentioned in the past.
After Israel and the Palestinian territories, Trump heads to the Vatican, and to Brussels and Italy for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and G7 meetings.
Trump and Netanyahu in particular lavished praise on each other during their multiple meetings.
And indeed, the settlement issue, which dominated Israeli-American relations under President Obama, was totally absent from Trump’s visit to Israel. 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. During the presidential campaign, Trump pledged to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but the plan has been shelved at least temporarily.
At the same time, Abbas and the Palestinians have been pleasantly surprised by their dealings with Trump.
Abbas said the Palestinians’ struggle is not with the Jewish religion, asserting that the “fundamental problem is with the occupation, the settlements, and Israel’s failure to recognize Palestine”.
Israel claims Jerusalem as its capital, but Palestinians insist that the city’s mostly Arab eastern part be the capital of any future state.
The address followed a visit to Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust Memorial, where Trump and his wife Melania laid a wreath and the president spoke about the horrors of Nazi Germany’s annihilation of six million Jews.
Trump vowed not to refer to attackers as “monsters” any longer “because they would like that term”. Police said children were among those killed or injured. The Islamic State has taken responsibility.
“It will not be simple, but for the first time in many years, and the first time in my lifetime, I see a real hope for change”, the prime minister said. “If it does, I would say to you that it goes further in my mind as a member of the intelligence committee than just the focus on the Russian Federation investigation”.
“My staff has been fantastic and as you know Rex, Secretary of State has done an incredible job”, Mr Trump begun to say after flying in from Saudi Arabia. “And (Trump) really does want to work together with Israel in countering the threat from Jihadist Islam”. Earlier, Trump visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where according to Christian tradition Jesus was buried and resurrected.
Trump made headlines as the first sitting USA president to visit the famous Western Wall, part of the Temple Mount and one of Judaism’s holiest sites.
The visit raised questions about whether the USA would indicate the site is Israeli territory.
Trump then caressed the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City.
The White House struggled to answer the question. Trump himself never commented.