Donald Trump's Middle East Comment in Israel

Speaking at the White House earlier this month, U.S. President Donald Trump claimed that achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians "may not be as hard as people have thought over the years".

But others were more pessimistic about Trump's prospects for bringing peace - not only politicians but also religious leaders, including the Jerusalem-based representative of the Vatican, which was the next stop on the President's itinerary.

During his visit, Trump notably avoided all of the thorny issues that have stymied peace efforts for decades.

The Israeli Ambassador to the United States couldn't contain himself after President Donald Trump implied Israel is not located in the Middle East, putting his head in his hands in disbelief at the statement. Speaking at the Israel Museum, he declared both sides ready to move forward, though there were no tangible signs of the dormant peace process being revived. "Big, big, attractive difference", Trump said to loud applause from his audience, which included members of Netanyahu's Cabinet and other officials.

The Palestinian press was equally skeptical, especially about Netanyahu's comments to Trump that "Israel also shares the commitment to peace that you expressed". They would think that's a great name.

Trump, for his part, made sure not to mention the two-state solution and did not touch on any of the Palestinians' demands, including the issue of settlements, detainees or the right to self-determination.

From Israel, Mr Trump departed for Italy for an audience with Pope Francis.

On Monday, Trump flew from Saudi Arabia to Israel.

Naftali Bennett, leader of the rightist Jewish Home party, a key member of Netanyahu's governing coalition, summed up the prevailing mood among officials in the wake of Trump's visit.

His visit came in stark contrast to president Barack Obama's first Middle East trip eight years ago when Israelis accused him of shunning the Israel as he delivered a keynote speech in Egypt. As always, Greenblatt will likely be closely accompanied and advised by his new friend MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Camps), who has been guiding the Trump emissary through the labyrinth of Israeli and PA politics. After meeting with Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia during the first prong of his first overseas trip, he flew from Riyadh to David Ben Gurion airport in the first direct flight ever taken between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which have no diplomatic relations.

At the same time, Abbas and the Palestinians have been pleasantly surprised by their dealings with Trump.

Netanyahu, for his part, got his government to approve a series of modest gestures to ease conditions for the Palestinians in the West Bank on the eve of Trump's visit. "We are keen to keep the door open to dialogue with our Israeli neighbors from all walks of life".

The address followed a visit to Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust Memorial, where Trump and his wife Melania laid a wreath and the president spoke about the horrors of Nazi Germany's annihilation of six million Jews. More than 20 people were killed by an apparent suicide bomber.

He also commended the importance of the holding of the Arab-Islamic-American Summit in the Saudi capital on Sunday. "We appreciate this aid and important support very much and yet I'd like to stress this again - history has shown that Israel's security is dependent on our ability to defend ourselves with our own forces against every threat". Trump said that "with determination, compromise. and the belief that peace is possible, Israelis and Palestinians can make a deal".

But hardliners in Israel could find plenty to cheer about in Trump's concluding speech, too. He toured the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which by Christian tradition is where Jesus was crucified and the location of his tomb.

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