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

Trump leaves Israel, says Middle East was 'great'

US President Donald Trump has travelled in a high-security convoy to Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank to discuss peace in the region with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Other than the new Middle East regional environment, there is little to suggest that myriad obstacles that have prevented a bilateral peace agreement between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian President Abbas before can now be overcome, particularly pursued the same tried and tested way through direct bilateral negotiations.

"I am truly hopeful that America can help Israel and the Palestinians forge peace, and bring new hope to the region and its people", Trump said.

Welcoming Trump at the airport were members of the Israeli government, each of whom was granted a handshake and short verbal exchange with the USA president.

"I can't imagine such an arrangement being permitted for any other visitor, so I don't know that it has even been agreed to", Shapiro told The Forward. He said that the Palestinians' problem is with the occupation and Israel's position of not recognising the Palestinian state.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, said that Trump's rejection of a "false choice" between supporting Israel and supporting the Arab world was a good thing, but that the President's insistence on not using the term "two state solution" during the visit, was not.

The president rekindled the eternal flame, and he and first lady Melania Trump laid a wreath of red and white flowers on a stone slab.

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He stressed that such a potential peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians would trigger a cascade effect throughout the Middle East. "They date back thousands of years, including the reign of King David, whose star now flies proudly on Israel's white and blue flag."He also underlined Christian and Muslim connections, faiths that took root in the land between 1,400 and 2,000 years ago".

The city is also surrounded by hilltop Jewish settlements on three sides, built both in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, communities that most of the world considers illegal, though Israel disputes this.

Abbas also spoke of Palestinian insistence that all "final status issues" be resolved "based on worldwide law" and United Nations resolutions, as well as the Arab Peace Initiative first offered more than a decade ago. Just a few hours after visiting the Western Wall, the background image of Trump's personal Twitter account was changed to feature a photo of the president with his hand on the Kotel. The US does not recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

He met multiple times with Netanyahu, and said in a joint appearance with the prime minister Tuesday, "I can tell you that the Palestinians are ready to reach for peace - and, from my meeting with my friend Benjamin Netanyahu, I can tell you Israelis are ready to reach for peace as well".

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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