Trump makes personal appeal for Mideast peace

The president landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport for a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories as part of his first trip overseas since taking office. He reiterated the Palestinians' demands, including establishing a capital in East Jerusalem, territory Israel claims as well, insisting that "our problem is not with the Jewish religion, it's with the occupation and settlements, and with Israel not recognizing the state of Palestine".

In the eyes of cynical Israelis, Trump, like Netanyahu in the past, is awarding himself the world title of Mr. Anti-Terror, this time against Iran.

The U.S. president arrived in Israel on Monday after a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where Trump said King Salman assured him Riyadh wants peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. On the contrary, it will push it forward by correcting a historical injustice and ending the Palestinian narrative that says that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel. "He's still on a learning curve and peacemaking is not a business deal".

"We know that peace is possible if we put aside the pain and disagreements of the past and commit together to finally resolving this crisis which has dragged on for almost half a century", Trump added in his speech at the museum, shortly before departing Israel for Rome, adding that Israelis and Palestinians "can make a deal".

Trump initially sparked deep concern among Palestinians when he backed away from the long USA commitment to a two-state solution to the conflict.

The incident comes just days after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was announced as the victor of the elections in which he sought a second term after campaigning on promises of domestic reform and further outreach to the worldwide community, in line with the 2015 nuclear agreement he had helped to secure during his first term. Quitting now would alienate US allies and could lead to precisely what the accord has successfully blocked: an Iranian race to build a bomb. The benefits would be two-fold; showing that Trump was not Islamophobic and strengthening previous sour relationships with United States allies.

During his presidential campaign, Trump promised to either "tear up" or renegotiate the agreement, though he has stepped back from that promise since taking office. The historic July 2015 nuclear deal closed all pathways to a nuclear weapon for Iran, whereas Israel remains the only obstacle to a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East.

Iran's newly reelected president, Hassan Rouhani, an architect of the nuclear deal and a moderate in Iranian politics, held out an olive branch of sorts.

For the White House this was job done. The rival factions split over who would lead Muslims after the Prophet Muhammad's death in the 7th century.

Trump, for his part, seemed to allude to the Palestinian Authority's payments to families of those prisoners when he said, "Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded". The militant group Hamas controls the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu had a frosty relationship with former U.S. President Barack Obama, but has lavished praise on Trump throughout his visit.

In introductory remarks, Netanyahu voiced hope that Trump's efforts would help forge peace with Arab states, which, he said, shared with Israel a common concern about Iran. "He has divided the Muslim world into good and evil, white and black. It's exactly the script the Saudis wanted, and it's the script Trump gave them".

Trump's strategic re-positioning in the region has two parts.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wave at the Israel museum in Jerusalem, Tuesday.

Second, Iran is too big and too important to ignore, they argue, especially because the easing of sanctions and Rouhani's reelection means it is reengaging with the outside world.

Hamas has said that Trump's labeling it as a terrorist organization demonstrates the American president can not be a fair broker for peace. "Excluding Iran only incentivizes Iran to destroy the process set up to exclude it". And that was before Trump brushed Netanyahu aside to tell the media that it was all okay because he never said the word "Israel" to the Russians - thus marking the first time a USA official had suggested in public that the sensitive material released came from Israel.

The visit follows an initial leg in Saudi Arabia, where he urged Islamic leaders to confront extremism.

Although the organization is primarily Sunni, several member nations have large Shiite populations, making the coalition's ability to coordinate actions an open question.

"I'm personally committed to helping Israelis and Palestinians achieve a peace agreement", Trump said. "It was practical assurance", Takeyh said.

"It was psychological assurance".

Times correspondent Joshua Mitnick contributed from Tel Aviv.

Related news:

Hot News

UK: Manchester attack investigation still at 'full tilt'
May 29, 2017 - 11:58
Bomber Salman Abedi , a 22-year-old Briton of Libyan descent, killed 22 people and himself on May 22 at an Ariana Grande concert. More than 20 people were killed in an explosion following a Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena late Monday evening.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top CBSE class XII results 2017: Have a look at the details!
May 29, 2017 - 11:55
The CBSE started a helpline with toll free number 18000118004 for psychological counselling post the Class XII results. Last year, Sukriti Gupta, a Science student from Delhi, had topped the Class XII board examinations by scoring 99.4%.

Kulbhushan Jadhav case: Pakistan to change lawyers after ICJ stays execution
May 29, 2017 - 11:55
It also hit out at India, saying the country has been "trying to hide its real face" by taking the case of Jadhav to the ICJ. The death sentence to Jadhav was handed out by a Pakistani military court on 10 April on charges of espionage.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Ariana Grande announces benefit concert in honour of the victims
May 29, 2017 - 11:54
Eight men are in now custody after a man and a woman were released without charge, Greater Manchester police said in a tweet. In addition to those killed, 116 people received medical treatment at Manchester hospitals for wounds from the blast.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1 to win FA Cup
May 28, 2017 - 06:13
Aaron Ramsey headed the victor for Arsenal against 10-man Chelsea after Diego Costa had cancelled out a controversial opener from Alexis Sanchez .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Donald Trump faces new controversies as foreign trip winds down
May 28, 2017 - 06:10
But Germany, for instance, has been increasing its defense spending with the goal of reaching the 2 percent target by 2024. On Saturday, Trump said in a Twitter post he would make a decision on whether to support the Paris climate deal next week.

Duterte Tells Troops 'You Can Arrest Any Person'
May 28, 2017 - 06:09
Eduardo Ano told The Associated Press . "I'm just praying that the bullets will not find its way to my house and hit us". The United States has placed a $5 million bounty on his head for alleged terrorist acts against American citizens.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Officials piece together events before nursing home shooting
May 28, 2017 - 06:09
A report via fox8 told of investigators discovering two deceased female employees inside the nursing home. Authorities say the gunman had taken two passers-by as hostages in a wooded area behind the nursing home.

Warriors ready for third straight NBA Finals appearance
May 27, 2017 - 10:28
Injured San Antonio Spurs playmaker Kawhi Leonard did not play for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. Chants of "Manu, Manu" showered down, as fans knew that this might be the last game of his career.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Owen Jones "absolutely gloating" over Katie Hopkins LBC departure
May 27, 2017 - 10:26
Hopkins "monstrous" on air following the tweet, saying he felt ashamed to share a platform with her, BBC reported . Shortly after, she edited the tweet and wrote: "typo / wording amended", and then deleted it completely.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Britain's May to Confront Trump Over Manchester Leaks
May 27, 2017 - 10:25
The sweeping investigation has caused friction between US and British security and intelligence officials. Ramadan Abedi had earlier claimed Salman was innocent, saying: "We don't believe in killing innocents".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top The 7 most awkward moments from Trump's Israel trip
May 27, 2017 - 10:24
Here's a list of the most tweetable faux pas from Trump's Israel visit. "Who knows!" Netanyahu said, laughing. However, after the awkward gesture, the couple were seen holding hands at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Oversight chair seeks more FBI documents in Russia probe
May 27, 2017 - 10:23
The couple were returning to the American capital, a White House source indicated to the British newspaper the Daily Mail . Flynn retroactively registered with the Justice Department in March as a paid foreign agent for Turkish interests.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Jorge Sampaoli seems set to swap Sevilla for Argentina
May 27, 2017 - 10:22
Sampaoli leaves Sevilla having guided them to the top four but, for much of the season, this was a campaign that promised more. Jorge Sampaoli who spent just one year at Sevilla and finished 4 in the league has reportedly agreed to coach Argentina next.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Turkey shuns US resolution on Turkish bodyguards violence
May 26, 2017 - 13:42
It has also criticized a revamping of Turkey's constitution - backed by a referendum - that greatly expands Erdogan's powers. After a failed coup, Erdogan has tightened his grip over Turkish leadership and many people are facing lawsuits.