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

Trump wants Mideast peace 'compromise' but says won't be easy

After his meeting with Abbas, Trump will return to Jerusalem to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and give a speech at the Israel Museum, bringing an end to his two-day stay in the country.

At the museum, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Mr. Trump for his "steadfast friendships to the Jewish people and the Jewish state".

"I won't call them monsters, because they would like that term", said Trump, adding that so many "young, beautiful" people lost their lives in the explosion at Manchester Arena in Britain late on Monday.

Trump has yet to clarity if he still supports a two-state solution, whether he remains opposed to Israeli settlements or if he has nixed his controversial plan to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem.

Trump also called out terrorist groups in the Middle East who oppose Israel, as well as Iran.

Diana Buttu, a Palestinian lawyer and former adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organisation, says Trump's comments about striving for a negotiated solution between Israel and the Palestinians are not promising.

"I extend my deepest condolences to those so terribly injured in this terrorist attack, and to the many killed and the families, so many families of the victims", Trump said.

He stressed that such a potential peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians would trigger a cascade effect throughout the Middle East. "I'm telling you, that's what I do, they are ready to reach for peace".

One might have thought that a president who won office in part by rejecting interventionism would have taken the opportunity to tell Abbas and Netanyahu to work it out between themselves.

President Donald Trump in the major address of his visit to Israel called for a coalition of nations to fight against extremism and insisted that both Israel and the Palestinians are ready for peace.

Trump went on to say that he is "personally committed" to helping Israel and Palestinians reach a lasting peace, acknowledging that promises for such a deal have been made but, in an apparent reference to his record of dealmaking in business, he said, "That's what I do".

Trump's convoy entered Bethlehem shortly before 10:00, arriving from the 300 Checkpoint and driving past Israel's illegal Separation Wall.

The route took the president past the "Walled Off Hotel", a guesthouse run by the British graffiti artist Banksy that is created to draw attention to the security infrastructure, which Israel says is there to protect against Palestinian attacks.

The traditional U.S. position on Jerusalem is that the city's status must be negotiated between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Wednesday, the president is to meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican, underscoring Trump's focus during his first foreign trip on the three Abrahamic faiths. He said that while Abbas condemned Monday's attack in Manchester, "if [the attacker] had been Palestinian, the murderer's family would have gotten a payment".

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