Melania Trump Appears to Dodge President's Hand Again, This Time in Rome


President Donald Trump wrapped up a two-day visit to Israel and the West Bank on Tuesday without evidence of progress toward renewing talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Trump became the first sitting president to visit the holy site, where he was accompanied by the Western Wall's rabbi, Shmuel Rabinovitz.

Trump said his trip was "focused on bringing nations together", adding that the Palestinians were "ready to reach for peace".

"From the Palestinian leadership's perspective, I don't think their definition of peace fits within what most of us at least here in Congress and in the United States would define as peace".

President George W Bush sponsored a peace conference in Annapolis in 2007, which for a while was hailed, in vain, as a major step towards the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

On Tuesday, US president Donald Trump and president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas asserted their commitment to achieving peace between Palestinians and Israelis, during a press conference in Bethlehem, according to worldwide media.

Addressing parliament, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Jerusalem's Temple Mount and Western Wall will remain under Israel's control "forever".

The Israeli leader said the new President's election offered more hope of a lasting peace deal "than I've seen in my lifetime", while his Palestinian counterpart also said meetings with Mr Trump were cause for "optimism".

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Aides said the approach was purposeful, and the normally free-wheeling Trump was well-aware of the risks of veering off script on issue where every word is intensely scrutinized.

Abbas said his recent visit to the White House, at which Trump likewise promised economic aid, gave "so much hope and optimism of the possibility to make true a dream, a long-awaited dream and ambition, and that is lasting and justice-based peace". The White House claims the President was unaware that Israel was the source. The PA, however, does not recognize Israel as a Jewish state and has repeatedly refused to do so.

Trump's visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories is part of his first trip overseas as president.

Israeli citizens, however, can travel to Saudi Arabia and thousands of Muslims attend the annual hajj pilgrimage there, flying with stopovers in neighbouring countries. They were all saying I did.

It was a brief visit however, with President Trump and the First Lady departing just seconds after his speech to move on to the next destination. They believe that it heralds a new era of settlement expansion in the occupied territories.

Wrapping up the second stop of his five country global swing since becoming Commander in Chief, President Donald Trump is now on his way to Rome.

The Palestinians are deeply divided, with Fatah in charge in the West Bank and in Gaza the Islamists of Hamas, who have been condemned by President Trump in the last few days as terrorists.