Israelis Elated, Palestinians Disappointed by Trump Visit

President Reuven Rivlin opening Jerusalem Day celebrations at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City

Trump was warmly welcomed today in Bethlehem by President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority.

The US president also pledged his support for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

"Trump inherited a relatively stable Middle East - as opposed to the upheaval and developments during Obama's time", said Dr. Ronen Zeidel, an expert on the Middle East Affairs from the University of Haifa.

"The president was very forceful in his encouragement to both of them to be serious about approaching these discussions in the future and recognize they have to compromise; everyone has to compromise", Tillerson said.

"If President Trump wanted to demonstrate his stunningly pro-Israeli credentials to pave the way for pressing [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu for concessions down the road, this trip couldn't have gone any better". Further, the U.S. leader did not bring up the issue of sovereignty over the city of Jerusalem, which both Israel and the Palestinians claim as their capital. He did not weigh in Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem or even whether the USA would continue to insist on a two-state solution giving the Palestinians sovereign territory.

President Trump and President Abbas condemned the terror attack that occurred in Manchester and offered condolences to the victims and the families of those who lost loved ones. "I can live with either one".

"Donald Trump is the first sitting president to visit the Western Wall".

U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, a Southern Baptist and an Arizona Republican, said Trump's Israel visit signals "a new day has dawned" in U.S. -Israel relations after some tension between Israel and the Obama administration.

Netanyahu was addressing the Knesset for a special session marking Jerusalem Day, the anniversary of Israel's capture of the city's eastern half, which includes Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites, from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast War. The nearby Western Wall is the holiest site where Jews can pray. Trump and Netanyahu never talked about a two-state solution to the problem, but Abbas did. "Big, big, lovely difference", Trump said to loud applause from his audience, which included members of Netanyahu's Cabinet and other officials.

Trump's meeting with Abbas took place a day after the American leader's historic visit to the Western Wall, the first such visit to the holy site by a sitting USA president.

He became the first sitting USA president to visit the site in east Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognised by the worldwide community. Prior to going the Western Wall, he visited one of Christianity's most sacred sites, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which some believe is the place where Jesus was crucified.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani played down Trump's strong criticism of Iran at a summit in Saudi Arabia at the weekend, saying: "Who can say regional stability can be restored without Iran?" Last December 23 the outgoing Obama administration refused to veto UN Resolution 2334, which called Israel's presence in East Jerusalem an illegal settlement.

Tillerson says Trump put "a lot of pressure" on Netanyahu and Abbas to revive peace talks. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE, Egypt, Oman, and 45 other key Arab nations- are once again prepared to partner with the USA on our shared interests.

Netanyahu added: "They want us to turn this small square kilometer into what we see in Palmyra or Aleppo or Mosul, and that's what will happen [if we divide Jerusalem]".

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