Published: Thu, May 25, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Press corps on Trump trip hearing little from the president

US President Donald Trump called on Israelis and Palestinians to make compromises that could lead to peace as he wrapped up a visit with a speech in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

In his final speech, at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, President Trump also identified himself, his administration and the United States four-square with Israel.

Expressing optimism that a peace deal could finally be brokered to end the almost 70-year-old conflict and suggested a resolution may not be hard to obtain it.

President Donald Trump: "Just so you understand, I never mentioned the word or the name 'Israel, ' never mentioned it during that conversation".

The visit offered proof if anyone needed it that Trump has no idea what he is talking about when he speaks of the ultimate deal being peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Trump has criticized the Palestinian Authority for paying salaries to people sentenced for terrorism by Israel.

During a meeting with Abbas at the White House earlier this month, Trump vowed to work as a "mediator, an arbitrator or a facilitator" to help forge the "toughest deal" between Israelis and Palestinians, but failed to put forward any new proposals.

Under a 2016 agreement, Washington already bankrolls Israel's military spending to the tune of $3.8 billion dollars annually over 10 years, making the Jewish state the top recipient of USA assistance. Recognizing these changes, Netanyahu a year ago broke over a decade of official Israeli silence and spoke positively at the Knesset of the API.

Although White House spokesmen answered no when reporters asked whether the president had chose to terminate Comey before receiving a memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, Trump answered yes in an interview with NBC News.

Defiant Iran to continue with missile programme
He also called on Iranians to join demonstrations to show to the US that they are not afraid of the threats. His comments followed fierce critism from the U.S. president during visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel .

Trump (L) shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) after they held a joint press conference at Abbas' residence in Bethlehem, the West Bank, 23 May 2017.

Abbas stressed the Palestinian position regarding a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders and a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's problems at home are just as complex.

From Israel, Mr Trump departed for Italy for an audience with Pope Francis. Later on Tuesday Mr Trump returned to Jerusalem, visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

The White House readout also made clear that Trump pressed Abbas to address Palestinian incitement, a key Netanyahu demand.

Iran's top foreign policy officials have responded by mocking the lack of democracy in Saudi Arabia, the U.S. ally from whose capital Trump lambasted Tehran, and by accusing the United States of destabilizing the Middle East through its support of Israel, and not only. The US does not recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

In stressing threats from Iran, Trump echoed a theme laid out during weekend meetings in Saudi Arabia with Muslim leaders from around the world, many wary of the Islamic Republic's growing regional influence and financial muscle.

The Palestinians have compared the payments to the salaries Israel pays to soldiers.

Israel will soon mark the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War, a conflict in which it captured the Old City of Jerusalem and more than two dozen Palestinian villages around it from Jordan, laying the foundations of a long-simmering dispute.

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