While the president reiterated his desire to broker a peace deal, his visit produced no announcement on steps toward renewing negotiations.
President Trump has had, according to the White House, a successful maiden trip outside the U.S. But the bad news is he has to come home.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that Trump “pressured” Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table during his visit.
On the relationship between the Arab states and Israel, Trump offered no recipe as to how they can reach a comprehensive peace agreement.
As for follow-up, “The one thing that it probably will be is quiet and discreet”, the official said.
Israel annexed east Jerusalem and the contested Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.
With President Donald Trump pushing for Israeli-Palestinian peace progress, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is again looking to widen his coalition by bringing in politicians from the center left, a TV report said.
“So many young, handsome innocent people living and enjoying their lives, murdered by evil losers in life”, Trump said, echoing the theme he presented during his meetings with Arab leaders in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has criticised statements made by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Jerusalem’s geographical division, saying that the remarks “disagree with the peace process and deny the Palestinian existence in the occupied city”.
In a lightening 28-hour visit here – the ninth by six USA presidents dating back to Richard Nixon – Trump hailed Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for his willingness to reach a peace deal. Every American president has tried it and there is a reason it doesn’t happen. Under my administration you see the difference. “Iran’s leaders routinely call for Israel’s destruction”. So we’re working on it and I will tell you, a big difference over the previous year, money is actually starting to pour into North Atlantic Treaty Organisation from countries that would not have been doing what they’re doing now had I not been elected, I can tell you that.
In a speech towards the end of his visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, Mr Trump offered a forceful defence of the Jewish state and pledged to protect the country against common enemies, including Iran. “It symbolically recognizes Israel’s historical ties to Jerusalem and its claim of sovereignty”, Jim Phillips, senior Middle East research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told Xinhua.
He added, “From the Palestinian leadership’s perspective, I don’t think their definition of peace fits within what most of us at least here in Congress and in the United States would define as peace”. Both he and Trump wore black kippahs, the skull caps worn by religious Jews and by others as a mark of respect.
Whereas he took no initiative to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, to the chagrin of Netanyahu and his cohorts, Trump backtracked on his promise to relocate the United States embassy to Jerusalem and asked Netanyahu to slow down the building and expansion of settlements. “The president notably avoided all of the thorny issues that have stymied peace efforts for decades”, The Associated Press noted.
At the same time, he urged Israel to hold back on settlement building in the West Bank, a longstanding concern of Palestinians and much of the world.
Israeli forces moved in, and clashes ensued with the Palestinian protesters.
But there was little public evidence of prodding by Trump or his aides of either side to make more substantial concessions.
Trump arrived in Bethlehem by motorcade, crossing a checkpoint at Israel’s controversial separation wall, and was greeted by Abbas and other dignitaries outside the city’s presidential palace.
I thought that Trump’s foreign policy was going to put America first, not Saudi Arabia. Netanyahu effusively praised Trump before his museum address and sprang to his feet to lead applause for him several times.
But first Trump has to finish the day in Sicily, which includes a meeting with small African nations and a G-7 leader lunch.