Trump heads to Israel in possible first arrival from Saudi

Trump heads to Israel in possible first arrival from Saudi

The United States does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a position shared by almost every other country in the worldwide community.

Trump's schedule over the two-day Israeli leg includes visits to Christian and Jewish holy sites, meetings with Israel's president and prime minister, and a trip to Bethlehem to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

But while making history is a lot in of itself, it is not enough to achieve what Trump seems to really want - to broker the "ultimate" peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. His second stop on the nine-day tour aimed to test the waters for reviving the dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

"We have before us a rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace to this region and to its people, defeating terrorism and creating a future of harmony, prosperity and peace".

President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered remarks Monday from the head of state's residence in Jerusalem. The display wasn't entirely spontaneous: Israeli media reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made attendance mandatory for all government ministers. But obstacles have emerged that may complicate the relationship between the White House and the Knesset.

During a press conference after visiting the wall, Mr Trump tackled claims he disclosed sensitive Israeli intelligence to Russian officials.

"I talk every place about her, how great she is and how great you are", Sara Netanyahu said to President Donald Trump on the tarmac within view of Air Force One. The White House insists that Trump did not divulge the source of his intelligence about potential terrorist threats emanating from Syria, but intelligence agencies worry that details of the plot could allow the Russians to identify where the information came from.

Mr Tillerson referred to the visit as "a moment in time" and suggested that the USA would take a more active role in the future in brokering a deal if both sides make serious commitments.




Trump promised during his campaign to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the United States embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but has since backed off that pledge - at least for now. The appointment of David Friedman, a staunch pro-Israel activist as the U.S. ambassador to Israel, as well as his son-in-law Jared Kushner as the main envoy to the region, are additional examples. The U.S. has maintained that these two matters - the most important, the thorniest - must only be decided during direct negotiations between the two parties.

This is the unexpected cloud that may hang over Trump's visit. "We believe Israel is willing". Until now, this area had been largely off limits to Palestinian development.

One point of contention in the talks: the fate of east Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war.

For Jews, the Western Wall, a retaining wall from the biblical Jewish Temple, is revered as the holiest site where Jews can pray.

Meanwhile, Chief Palestinian negotiator and Secretary General of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat said this weekend: "We believe that moving the USA embassy to Jerusalem would mean the end of the peace process".

Trump has sent mixed signals about how he will approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Netanyahu called the visit historic in that it is the first time that a US president's first trip overseas includes Israel.

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