Netanyahu says Jerusalem 'always Israel's capital'


Days before the United States president starts a Middle East trip that includes meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Tillerson told NBC channel that Trump's decision would depend greatly on how it is seen by governments in the region, including "whether Israel views it as being helpful to a peace initiative or perhaps a distraction".

It also comes as he contends with a raft of problems back home, including a special counsel investigating whether his associates colluded with Russian Federation. "The annexation of East Jerusalem is illegal as stipulated by all worldwide laws and resolutions", he said, adding that East Jerusalem is an occupied territory.

"I say to the whole world and in the clearest way possible, Jerusalem was and will always be the capital of Israel", Israel's prime minister reiterated at festivities marking the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War.

The official reportedly referred to the Western Wall as part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank rather than part of the state of Israel, according to Reuters.

"The issue over many years has not been the mediator in the middle - it's the guys sitting on the other sides of the mediators", said Miller, now a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

She said: "Any agreement that any PM of Israel especially Netanyahu would put on the table would be supported by the vast majority of Israeli's".

"I will discuss with President Trump ways to strengthen even further the first and strongest alliance with the US", Netanyahu told his weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Xinhua reported. On the other hand, the vast majority of Palestinians are just as adamant about recognizing Israel.

Can he bring the two sides together?

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Having declared that finding a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict is "maybe not as hard as people have thought", President Donald Trump will make his first visit to Israel with few concrete ideas of solving a problem that has vexed presidents for decades. On Tuesday, he is set to meet with Abbas in the West Bank and deliver a speech at the Israeli Museum. But he'll have to straddle them to make any headway towards what he's called "the ultimate deal" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He cast uncertainty over years of global efforts to foster a two-state solution when he met Netanyahu at the White House in February.

President Donald Trump has declared in the past that finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is "maybe not as hard as people have thought". But what will his position be on Israeli settlement building?

But reality has set in as all Trump's earlier talk - of moving the USA embassy to Jerusalem, of not worrying about Jewish settlements in Arab land and of dropping insistence on the pesky two-state solution - appears to have been just that: talk. The two had significant ideological differences, from how to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict to their respective views of how to prevent Iran from making a nuclear bomb. However, that declaration appears to be dead due to internal pressure inside the White House to push Trump in a more moderate direction as officials explore the potential for restarting peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

He flies in from Saudi Arabia, a key USA ally, where he gave a speech to Arab and Muslim leaders at a summit.

He also lashed out at Iran, accusing Tehran of fuelling "the fires of sectarian conflict and terror" and calling for its worldwide isolation.

Mr Trump's trip began in Saudi Arabia and takes him, after Israel, to the Vatican for an audience with Pope Francis, to Brussels for a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit and to Sicily for a meeting of leaders of the Group of Seven major industrial nations.