Trump to visit Israel in search of revived peace process

22 May, 2017, 16:13 | Author: Essie Rivera

He's going to be eating dinner with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The visit is part of a carefully constructed theme of Trump's first foreign trip as president.

Trump's first official trip outside the USA included a visit to Saudi Arabia, where he signed $350-billion arms deal.

This year marks 50 years since the Six-Day War and the beginning of Israel's occupation. "The Temple Mount and the Western Wall will always remain under Israeli sovereignty". "The annexation of East Jerusalem is illegal as stipulated by all worldwide laws and resolutions", he said, adding that East Jerusalem is an occupied territory.

It later annexed east Jerusalem and claims the entire city as its capital.

The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Netanyahu will meet with Trump later today.

"We have before us a rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace to this region and to its people", Trump said.

The United States is Israel's most important ally, providing it with more than $3bn in defence aid annually. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, Sunday, May 21, 2017.

Trump shocked longtime observers of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process earlier this year when he declined to endorse a two-state solution to the conflict, breaking with stated U.S. policy under his past two predecessors.

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President Donald Trump says peace in the Middle East can be achieved only by working together.

Both Netanyahu and Abbas have separately visited Trump in Washington since he took office.

This image has persisted even as early signs from the Trump administration suggest that its policy approach on Israeli-Palestinian talks does not differ markedly from that of many previous administrations, including Obama's.

He cast uncertainty over years of global efforts to foster a two-state solution when he met Netanyahu at the White House in February.

Among the main bones of contention between Israelis and Palestinians are Netanyahu's insistence that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people and the Palestinians calling for a halt to Israeli settlement building in the West Bank. Trump has also retreated from a campaign pledge to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, bending to the same diplomatic and security concerns as other presidents who have made similar promises.

"Mr. President", he said, "We look forward to your visit".

Palestinian officials believe Trump's visit will do little to resolve the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict because Tel Aviv "is more radical than ever before and will not be responsive to any initiative". A White House official blamed Trump's fatigue for the switch.

President Donald Trump is kicking off the second day of his first foreign trip overseas with a series of bilateral and group meetings with foreign leaders.

During a speech in Riyadh on Sunday in which he urged Arab and Islamic leaders to do their share to defeat Islamist militants, Trump referred to "Islamic extremism", although advance excerpts had him saying "Islamist extremism".

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