But he asserted that “the Palestinians are ready to reach for peace” and, in a little-noticed phrase, appeared to suggest that the conflict could end as soon as Israel withdraws from the West Bank. “They’re losers, and we’ll have more of them, but they’re losers”.
Making it clear that “this is a battle between Good and Evil”, Trump said, “The path to peace begins right here on this ancient soil, in this sacred land”.
At a speech marking Jerusalem Day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “The Temple Mount and the Western Wall will forever remain under Israeli sovereignty”.
“While White House officials maintain that the plan is still being examined, the slow roll of the move has angered Trump’s biggest pro-Israel supporters”, the Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo informed.
But in the months since Trump took office, the White House has consistently muddled its way through the sensitive minefield of Israeli-Palestinian policy, leaving analysts scratching their heads over how much importance to ascribe to sometimes contradictory statements from Trump and administration officials.
Abbas considers a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be non-negotiable, and he stressed his position on Tuesday. Trump is due to meet Pope Francis on Wednesday, becoming the 13th president to visit the Vatican. He will close his ambitious first foreign trip at a pair of summits in Brussels and Sicily, where his reception from European leaders may be less effusive than his welcome in Israel and Saudi Arabia, his opening stop on the trip.
While the unpredictable Trump completed the visit to the region without committing a major gaffe, his approach “swept away the entire Obama legacy with the wave of a hand”, said Thierry Coville, an Iran expert at the French Institute for global and Strategic Affairs.
Trump, like every other American president before him, did declare his intention, indeed his commitment, to deal with the Arab-Israeli conflict, describing a possible settlement as an historic deal.
In effect, it would offer Israel recognition by the Arab world and the “normalisation” of relations in exchange for a full withdrawal from the territory Israel has occupied since the June 1967 Middle-East war, including East Jerusalem. But Trump also showed signs Friday that, true to form, he might be willing to deal.
“I will call them, from now on, losers, because that’s what they are”, Trump said.
Abbas said he was keen to “keep the door open to dialogue with our Israeli neighbors”.
Another moment caught on camera that resulted in a lot of chatter on social media, was when the President attempted to hold the first lady’s hand – and she seemingly rejected his pursuit.
Greater Manchester police said a person detonated a suicide bomb Monday near one of the entrances to Manchester Arena, following an Ariana Grande concert.
Trump was “very forceful” in his discussions with the two leaders, and “everyone has to compromise”, Tillerson said.
Standing alongside Trump, Abbas, 82 and in the 12th year of his original five-year term, said he was determined to deliver an agreement for all Palestinians, although he did not provide any substance on how such an objective could be achieved, reported Reuters. Trump’s anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric and overwhelming focus on religious extremism intensify this challenge, even for those in his audience inclined to agree with his prescriptions to eliminate terrorism. He toured the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which by Christian tradition is where Jesus was crucified and the location of his tomb.
Trump also visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, and left what many noted was a brief message compared to his predecessor’s.
The visit raised questions about whether the USA would indicate the site is Israeli territory. In this reading, Trump is not signaling anything at all by refusing to mention two states, but is employing a tactic created to get the two sides talking without having the White House get stuck in the bog from the outset.
In an interview with CNN, former U.S. State Department spokesman Jen Psaki downplayed the possibility that Trump’s measured tone could indicate a policy shift. Yet Trump himself tweeted in June 2016 that the Saudis “want women as slaves and to kill gays”.