Trump says 'ultimate deal' possible for peace in Middle East

25 May, 2017, 02:03 | Author: Gregory Stephens

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday decisively spoke about Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem and the Jewish people's connection to the capital. The goal of Trump's trip, the official said, was "to do a lot of listening, build very strong relationships with all the different people, not just the parties involved. and try to create a lot of momentum and optimism around the prospect for peace".

It is still early to figure out what to make of Donald Trump's visit to Israel, as the U.S. president is known to make extemporaneous statements that may not accurately reflect his policy positions.

Mr Abbas reiterated his call for a two-state solution to the conflict, including a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, insisting that "our problem is not with the Jewish religion, it's with the occupation and settlements, and with Israel not recognising the state of Palestine".

President Donald Trump wrapped up a two-day visit to Israel and the West Bank on Tuesday without evidence of progress toward renewing talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

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.

As Trump posed for photo opportunities and was scheduled to enjoy dinner at Netanyahu's official residence on Monday night, more than 1,300 Palestinians were on their 36th day of hunger strike in Israeli prisons. 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. It was the end of four days in the Middle East, after a packed schedule that included summits, elaborate dinners, and high-stakes meetings.


Abbas had sought to convince the unpredictable U.S. president to remain committed to an independent Palestinian state. The parts of the speech offering a robust defence of Israel drew loud applause, which seemed to energise Trump on the second leg of his first foreign trip since taking office. It undermines the realization of a two-state solution.

The so-called two-state solution - meaning an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel - has always been the basis of USA policy but Trump suggested in February he was no longer wedded to it.

Trump did, however, subtly repeat his admonition of the Palestinian Authority to stop encouraging terrorism, telling Abbas, "Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded".

It is fine to want Israel to have peace, but what about the Palestinians? He said that while Abbas condemned Monday's attack in Manchester, "if [the attacker] had been Palestinian, the murderer's family would have gotten a payment". Palestinians say the barrier is a land grab because it slices off 10 percent of the West Bank.

Protesting Trump in the West Bank; the sign slams USA policy "shameful to humanity".

Trump provided few specifics about how a deal might be achieved in a peace process that has been stalled for years.

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