Trip to Test Trump's Ambition for Middle East Peace

23 Mai, 2017, 18:54 | Author: Cyril Hebras
  • Jonathan Ernst  Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a speech during Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh Saudi Arabia May 21

How can Trump expect to satisfy a Palestinian demand that the "right of return" be granted to the descendants of Palestinians who once lived in Israel?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said it had no comment on the report.

"We're not here to force people to do things one way or the other with regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict", the official said.

President Donald Trump has just two weeks to make good on his promise to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. However Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations dismissed the report, saying it was full of half-truths and lies.

Eye witnesses told Xinhua that the Jewish settler got off his vehicle and opened fire at the two Palestinians during an ongoing clash between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces in the area, where the latter tried to disperse a demonstration in support of the Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails who have been on a hunger strike since April 17. "But this time you are an ambassador, representing the United States of America, Israel's greatest and most important ally". "That is how it always was and how it always will be", wrote Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman in a tweet Wednesday.

Trump is still planning to visit the Western Wall, and will be accompanied by the on-site rabbi, not Netanyahu.

Suprisingly, however, one US diplomat in the president's advance team told his Israeli counterparts that the Western Wall "is not yours", that it is in the West Bank.

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The map angered Israeli officials, and likely also alienated Palestinians for listing Trump's schedule in both West Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank as under the heading "Israel". But who is the rightful owner of the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem should be indisputable. "It could still change". It is widely assumed that Israel would retain control over the site under a potential peace deal.

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat and former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni spoke in separate interviews on the sidelines of a regional World Economic Forum meeting. "So much of what goes on is in Jerusalem and I think we have to see that for what it is".

Erekat told The Associated Press that he is encouraged by Trump's app. "I don't think they are falling for it". Trump's pledge to change the bitter tone of the US relationship with Israel that had developed under Obama will not prevent Israel from trying to manipulate him, former USA and Israeli officials said.

Herzog, now in a frenetic leadership primary in his Labor Party, continues: "I intend to create cooperation across party lines to prevent Netanyahu from establishing a de facto binational state".

After Saudi Arabia greeted the president on Saturday with lavish shows of friendship and national solidarity, including awards, billboards, air shows, cannons, trumpets and even a royal welcome - 81-year-old King Salman personally met Trump on the tarmac, an honor he had not extended to predecessor Barack Obama - Israel made a decision to level up its own diplomatic game. "But he could still say or do things that somehow recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital". The official asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter. "Trump has not come out and said that settlements are an obstacle to peace; he has not called for a settlement freeze".

In Saudi Arabia, Trump, who has been outspoken about his mistrust of Muslims and has tried to ban Muslims from entering the USA, is set to deliver a speech on Islam before a group of Muslim leaders. "This is the way to prosperity, peace and stability in the region", he said. "That is why there is a lot of anticipation of his visit".

Land, after negotiation, should be returned to the Palestinians. For Donald Trump, several of those await in Jerusalem and Bethlehem next week. He has since backed off any impending move over fears it would cause controversy and hinder peace talks with Palestine. While the probability of the "ultimate deal" seems as slim as ever, Trump will begin with the more achievable first step that his predecessors took: trying to goad the parties back to the negotiating table.


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