Published: Wed, May 24, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

'Peace is a choice,' Trump says during appearance with Palestinian leader

'Peace is a choice,' Trump says during appearance with Palestinian leader

But then Trump set out a formula from which Netanyahu is unlikely to derive much pleasure.

In an unprecedented and historic gesture on Monday, US President Donald Trump became the first sitting American president ever to visit the Western Wall, the last remaining remnant of the Jewish Holy Temple destroyed 2,000 years ago and one of the holiest sites in Israel.

"Today we reaffirmed the unbreakable bond of friendship between Israel and the United States-a friendship built on our shared love of freedom, our shared belief in human dignity, and our shared hope for an Israel at lasting peace". Making peace will not be easy.

"In my meeting with my very good friend, Benjamin, I can tell you this that he is reaching for peace, he wants peace".

Delivering a joint statement with Abbas in Bethlehem, Trump said: "The terrorists and extremists, and those who give them aid and comfort, must be driven out from our society forever".

Trump said: "So many young lovely innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers in life".

The U.S. president said that peace is possible "if we put aside the pain and disagreements of the past".

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However, he noted that if the suicide bomber were Palestinian and the young victims Israelis, the reaction of Palestinian leaders would have been different.

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. "He did not weigh in Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem or even whether the US would continue to insist on a two-state solution giving the Palestinians sovereign territory". So far, he has not uttered the words "Palestinian state" in any of his appearances since he landed at Ben Gurion on Monday.

"The Palestinians are ready to reach for peace. We must be resolute in condemning such acts in a single unified voice".

"Netanyahu promised to do all they can and I look forward to working on lasting peace with these leaders", he said.

US -sponsored peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel collapsed in 2014 over the latter's refusal to halt settlement activity in the occupied territories. Kushner and Greenblatt had a two-hour breakfast in Washington with Abbas before Abbas met with Trump, according to a source familiar with the meeting.

Trump called Jerusalem a "sacred city", but did not follow through on his campaign pledge to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the USA embassy to the city, which Trump called "the eternal capital of the Jewish people" during the campaign. In a clear contradiction to Netanyahu's worldview, Trump established a direct linkage between ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (i.e. getting the "ultimate deal") and eradicating ISIS to having peace in the entire region.

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