American arms deal with Saudis is under fire in Israel


English edition of Asharq Al-Awsat - the world's premier pan-Arab daily.

U.S. President Donald Trump wrapped up his visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories on Tuesday after meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and delivering a keynote address in Jerusalem.

Levin's remarks were prompted by President Trump's visit to Bethlehem earlier that day. At least 22 people, including children, were killed, and 59 injured.

Israeli officials hailed the speech as a triumph for the country's far-right government, which includes ministers opposed to the idea of an independent Palestinian state.

President Trump has yet to officially change American policy on Jerusalem, but his historic visit to the Jewish holy site in the heart of the city is being seen by many as hope for things to come.

Since his election, Trump has repeatedly declared his desire to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but has done nothing in practice to make that remotely plausible. And he also spoke of Israeli settlements and occupation and Palestinian prisoners.

The so-called two-state solution - meaning an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel - has always been the basis of U.S. policy but Trump suggested in February he was no longer wedded to it.

Yesterday, Mr Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Jerusalem's Western Wall, one of Judaism's holiest sites.

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"The conflict is not between religions", Abbas said.

The Palestinian president raised the issue of Palestinian detainees, who have been holding a hunger strike for more than a month. "We must seize them together. And I'm not disputing that it did", he said.

US officials reportedly had rejected a request by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit the site with Trump.

Oded Revivi, chief foreign envoy of the Council of Judea and Samaria, praised Trump's statements, saying, "The president didn't mention two states in his Bethlehem statements, just peace".

"I am committed to trying to achieve a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians", Trump told a press conference at PA headquarters in Bethlehem, without mentioning the possibility of Palestinian statehood. "President Abbas noted that he was ready to begin negotiating immediately", the release stated on Tuesday. Turning to the prime minister, who joined him for the speech, Trump said, "Benjamin Netanyahu wants peace". As regards reigniting peace talks, this is just the beginning and the United States administration is finding its feet. 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". "This wicket ideology must be obliterated, and innocent life must be protected".

Trump warned of Iran's escalating presence in the region.

As Donald looks set to take his wife's hand as they descend the steps, Melania reaches up to move some hair from her fringe.