President Trump wraps Mideast trip after Bethlehem, Jerusalem meetings

Posted May 30, 2017

The last talks, led by former USA president Barack Obama, collapsed in 2014.

For full coverage of Trump's trip to Israel, see this week's AJN.

In a joint news conference, Abbas stressed that the Palestinian people's attainment of freedom and independence was the key to peace and stability in the world, "so that the children of Palestine and Israel enjoy a safe, stable, and prosperous future".

Speaking before Trump, Abbas said that the Palestinians "fundamental problem is with occupation and settlements and the failure of Israel to recognise the state of Palestine as we recognise it". "And Israel's hand is extended in peace to all our neighbours, including the Palestinians". The deal also reportedly includes the renewed sale of precision-guided munitions that had been blocked under President Barack Obama's administration, for fear the Saudis would use them on civilian targets in Yemen, where Riyadh is prosecuting a war against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. Not once during his Middle East trip did he mention in public the "two-state solution", under which Israel and Palestine would recognise each other as sovereign entities, or indeed any form of Palestinian entity at all.

In Gaza, a coastal territory around 60 km west of the West Bank that is under a land and sea blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt, demonstrations were expected later today, following protests yesterday, to oppose Mr Trump's visit to the region. The measures included extending the operating hours of the Allenby Bridge border crossing between the West Bank and Jordan, expanding a West Bank industrial zone and allowing Palestinian construction in areas of the West Bank under full Israeli control. But for now at least, he seems to be content on letting the two sides work out the details for themselves.

It is the first time a sitting USA president has visited and prayed at the site.

Some of the lawmakers at the event were disappointed that Trump make a statement in Israel committing to the embassy move. "We hope this is an indication that he has left behind that failed policy and look forward to building a true and lasting peace from the ground up". I will call them, from now on, losers, because that's what they are: "losers".

People from all nations, even nations that you would be surprised to hear, they want to stop the killing.

"Words can never describe the bottomless depths of that evil, or the scope of the anguish and destruction", he added, in reference to the systematic murder of six million Jews by the Nazis between 1933-45. "Big, big, lovely difference", Trump said to loud applause from his audience, which included members of Netanyahu's Cabinet and other officials.