Was Trump the First U.S. President to Visit the Western Wall?
Jun 03 2017
It was what he didn't say.
Israel proclaims Jerusalem as its united capital, while the Palestinians claim the city's eastern part as the capital of their future state. He will close his ambitious first foreign trip at a pair of summits in Brussels and Sicily, where his reception from European leaders may be less effusive than his welcome in Israel and Saudi Arabia, his opening stop on the trip.
Michael Oren, a deputy minister in Netanyahu's coalition government and a former Israeli ambassador to Washington, said the vagueness with which Trump addressed the Israeli-Palestinian issue coupled with his sharp condemnation of Iran and terror dovetailed comfortably with current Israeli thinking.
He had met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday. Israel was Trump's next destination for his peace mission.
But within the Palestinian sector, there's not much expectation for developments beyond statements.
President Trump ended his visit to Israel with a message of unity and commitment to defend the state of Israel.
During his speeches at Ben Gurion Airport and the Israel Museum on Monday and Tuesday respectively, Trump did not utter the three words that have made many an Israeli wince: two state-solution.
"I think the president has indicated he's willing to put his own personal efforts into this if the Israelis and the Palestinians are ready to be serious about engaging as well".
Abbas reiterated his call for a two-state solution to the conflict, including an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital. He will also visit Yad Vashem, the holocaust memorial. "Don't allow your name to go down in the history books of the State of Israel as the prime minister who missed the greatest opportunity that Israel has known to avoid 50 more years of tears and bereavement".
TRUMP: Making peace, however, will not be easy.
Hope that Trump will announce the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was replaced with a less-ambitious goal of having the president make a reference recognizing Israel's right to the city.
"What a heritage, what heritage", Trump marveled.
He has already visited Saudi Arabia and Israel. The most high-profile moment of Trump's stay in Jerusalem was his visit to the Western Wall, one of the holiest sites in Judaism. In doing so, he left many Israelis, who had hoped for an American stance siding with their position, slightly disappointed. That in itself is a problem: When the USA takes too large a role in the talks, it removes the pressure from Palestinian and Israeli diplomats to arrive at a deal on their own. And it wasn't like Netanyahu didn't try.
"The process with the Palestinians will only come with support of the Arab world", Katz said. Former President Bill Clinton helped establish the current USA policy on Jerusalem through the "Clinton Parameters" in 2000.
Trump, who spoke after arriving in Israel, has also vowed to do whatever is necessary to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Yet some Israeli officials are less certain of Trump.
As for follow-up, "The one thing that it probably will be is quiet and discreet", the official said.
He offered no detail and did not specifically mention the two-state solution, long the focus of worldwide efforts and US Middle East diplomacy.