Published: Wed, May 24, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Rubio not optimistic on prospects of Middle East peace

Rubio not optimistic on prospects of Middle East peace

"I had a meeting this morning with President Abbas and can tell you that the Palestinians are ready to reach for peace", President Trump said in his speech at the Israel Museum. I've heard about you so much from my mother ...

The tweet was un-liked after Twitter caught on, and Melania's communications director, Stephanie Grisham, later told PEOPLE "The First Lady wasn't aware of any of this until I brought it to her attention".

Meeting Netanyahu in Washington in February, he said he would support a single state if it led to peace, delighting Israeli right-wingers who want to see most of the West Bank annexed.

As the airport ceremony wrapped up, Trump and his wife Melania chatted with Sara and Benjamin Netanyahu about their mutual affection and admiration, but also strayed into media criticism. The goal of Trump's trip, the official said, was "to do a lot of listening, build very strong relationships with all the different people, not just the parties involved. and try to create a lot of momentum and optimism around the prospect for peace". He dreams of peace for Israel and in that dream, he joins every Israeli mother and father I've ever met. The Saudis have signalled their willingness for closer ties with Israel; but both sides know that the Palestinian issue imposes limits on how far their relationship can go.

Emphasising the need for a durable peace deal between Israel and Palestine the stability of the region, Trump promised all help to renew the long-stalled talks. For the first time in many years, and for the first time in my lifetime, I see a real hope for change.

"The majority of the people of Israel, unlike the media, they love us, so we tell them how you are fearless and they love you", Sara Netanyahu said to Trump and his wife.

Speaking with CNN before Trump's speech, Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog also said he sensed a change in the region amid efforts by Trump and his team of negotiators to shake up the status quo in the peace process. Trump's rhetoric matches the reality on the ground: Since Israel is one of the top recipients of USA military aid, negotiators won't see Washington as a neutral party even if the US would like to assume that role. It is the physical embodiment of the Israeli claim to Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people. "They haven't necessarily said yes, but it explains why the initial resistance others have encountered, that we encountered, may not be as strong this time".

Trump is the first American president to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem, which is viewed favorably by the Israelis. And Iran's leaders routinely call for Israel's destruction.

"We would like to reiterate our commitment to cooperate with you to make peace and achieve an historic peace agreement between us and the Israelis", he added, echoing similar pledges from Netanyahu.

Abbas emphasized that he was committed to cooperating with Trump to forge a deal.

Netanyahu also criticized this practice in a statement made after Abbas's joint remarks with Trump on Tuesday, seemingly calling Abbas a hypocrite for offering his condolences to those who were hurt or lost loved ones in Monday evening's terrorist attacks in Manchester - Netanyahu said that had the Manchester victims been Israeli children, the Palestinian Authority would have paid the attacker's family. "The only question is when nations will decide that they have had enough - enough bloodshed, enough killing", Trump said.

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