Israelis mark 50 years since capture of Jerusalem's Old City

Israelis mark 50 years since capture of Jerusalem's Old City

Ahead of Trump's visit to Riyadh - which was marked by the USA signing a $110 billion weapons deal with the Saudi regime - Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International Philip Luther said that the "potential for President Trump to build toxic alliances with leaders who share his disdain for human rights during his first foray into foreign diplomacy is deeply worrying". Trump had arrived in Bethlehem by motorcade, crossing a checkpoint at Israel's controversial separation wall, and was greeted by Abbas and other dignitaries outside the city's presidential palace.

He made these remarks in the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara.

Trump's remarks, al-Shamali added, were blindly throwing United States support behind the interests of Israeli occupation, "which is the true source of terrorism and violence in the region and in the world", he said.

He did not say anything about moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem or recognize the city as Israel's capital.

"In my meeting with my very good friend Benjamin, I can tell you also that he is reaching for peace". If a regional peace initiative does begin to crystallize, he said, "Israel will have to pay a price, a painful, harsh compromise". Trump has spent more time courting the Arab states and extolling their willingness to make peace with Israel than he has in courting Israel itself, and whatever else the Sunni states may be, they are not going to be used as props.

"We know, for instance, that both Israelis and Palestinians seek lives of hope for their children".

While Trump has spoken frequently in the months since taking office of his desire to achieve what he has dubbed the "ultimate deal", he has not fleshed out any strategy that he or his administration might have towards achieving it. That's allowed him to steer clear of the steady stream of new revelations about his dealings with ousted FBI Director James Comey and the federal investigations into his election campaign's possible ties to Russian Federation.

Hamas has said that Trump's labeling it as a terrorist organization demonstrates the American president can not be a fair broker for peace. This focus group on Palestinian rights, whose membership is not confined to Jews, is gaining so much ground among college-age students that the Israeli government has allocated several million dollars to campus pro-Israel groups to combat it.

He said he was keen to "keep the door open to dialogue with our Israeli neighbours to build confidence and create a real opportunity for peace".

On Tuesday, anti-Trump protests raged on in the small Palestinian territory.

For its part, Abbas's Fatah party is at sharp odds with the Islamist group Hamas, which is in power in Gaza, leaving no unified Palestinian position on peace.

Mr Trump is in Israel on the second stop in his nine-day tour of the Middle East and Europe. He travelled eight km south from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank, to see Abbas.

"The Temple Mount and the Western Wall will remain under Israeli sovereignty forever", he added.

"This place is a testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people", Trump said. "They date back thousands of years, including the reign of King David, whose star now flies proudly on Israel's white and blue flag". The Trump Administration is said to be trying to put together a "common set of principles" from which everyone can negotiate.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin kicked off the 50th annual Jerusalem Day celebrations at the Western Wall on Tuesday evening, marking the milestone anniversary of the reunification of the holy city by Israeli forces during the 1967 Six-Day War. "I will call them from now on losers because that's what they are", he said.

Israel claims Jerusalem as its united capital, while the Palestinians claim the city's eastern sector as the capital of their future state. It also urges a "just settlement" of the Palestinian refugee problem.

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