President Trump sees himself as a great dealmaker, with the personality to cut through the difficulties that have defeated lesser people. "Instead of saying thank you to the United States, they now feel emboldened", said Trump. "I am committed to trying to achieve a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and I intend to do everything I can to help them achieve that goal", Trump said after his talks with Abbas.
While neither country is in a position to dictate to Trump where to fly, his arrival nonetheless reflects the warming relationship between them.
He also made the same statement about Netanyahu, making clear not only to Abbas, but also to reluctant right-wing members of the prime minister's coalition, that behind closed doors Netanyahu has expressed his willingness to relaunch the peace process.
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. While Netanyahu and Abbas both hailed Trump -Netanyahu stating "working with you, I believe we can advance a durable peace", and Abbas envisaging that Trump "will go down in history" as the president who secured peace, the verdict elsewhere was mixed. President Abbas noted that he was ready to begin negotiating immediately.
"A first presidential speech without any mention of two states or the settlements", the report exclaimed.
Trump later visited the Western Wall and Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, and spoke at the Israel Museum, where he focused on terrorism.
Still, not all was rosy for Netanyahu or his supporters, or for mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, who sat in the front row.
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In what has been interpreted as a swipe at PA incitement, Trump insisted, "Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded". He's also backed away from his campaign pledge to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, bending to the same security risks as other presidents who have made that promise.
"What a heritage, what heritage", Trump marveled.
Israel's deputy minister for diplomacy, Michael Oren, a former ambassador to the United States, said the two sides have been locked too tightly into a preset formula, with the results of negotiations determined in advance: two states built along the lines created in 1967 with some land swaps between the sides.
Trump received a warm welcome in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from Arab leaders, especially over his tough line on Tehran, which many Sunni Muslim Arab states regard as seeking regional control. And it wasn't like Netanyahu didn't try.
Palestinians staged a general strike Monday in support of the prisoners. The U.S. president also omitted a key phrase.
In what appeared to be a veiled sleight to former US President Barack Obama, with whom Netanyahu had a hard relationship, the prime minister praised Trump for his "bold decision to act against the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and I want to tell you also how much we appreciate the reassertion of American leadership in the Middle East", NBC News reported. "Big, big, lovely difference", Trump said to loud applause from his audience, which included members of Netanyahu's Cabinet and other officials.
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