Palestinians, Israel police clash at Jerusalem Old City gate

Lucy Bush
May 26, 2017

Al-Hindi said that "Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia and his description of the resistance as terrorism, in front of all of the Arab and Islamic world leaders, is a reflection of the ongoing deterioration in the region", referring to a growing alliance between heads of state in the region, the United States, and Israel at the expense of the Palestinian cause.

"This is a visit that has no substance", said Khalil Shikaki, a Palestinian pollster and political analyst. But some Israeli analysts say such a warm embrace can be conducive to building the trust necessary for a meaningful process.

The Temple Mount and the Western Wall "will forever remain under Israeli sovereignty", Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an address to the Knesset session.

Demonstrators waving Palestinian flags, PFLP flags, as well as Hezbollah and Iranian flags rallied from Palestine Square to the prisoners' solidarity sit-in tent at Saraya Square, chanting against United States policies in the region. He will close his ambitious first foreign trip at a pair of summits in Brussels and Sicily, where his reception from European leaders may be less effusive than his welcome in Israel and Saudi Arabia, his opening stop on the trip.

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"I stand in awe of the accomplishments of the Jewish people and I make this promise to you: My administration will always stand with Israel", he added. A banner hung in the city said "the city of peace welcomes the man of peace". Abbas said he welcomed Trump's "noble and possible mission". He did not weigh in Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem or even whether the USA would continue to insist on a two-state solution giving the Palestinians sovereign territory. He says Israel already has some limited partnerships with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States in the field of intelligence, although officially they have no diplomatic relations.

"Making peace however will not be easy", Trump told an audience of Israeli politicians and other dignitaries at the Israel Museum.

Obama, whose secretary of state John Kerry helped broker the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, "banked on Iran's moderate forces, [while] Trump has chosen the Sunni camp, starting with Saudi Arabia, a country with unequaled financial means", Abidi told AFP.

Decades of US -led peacemaking have failed to produce a lasting deal with the Palestinians.

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Said Trump, "There are those who ... say that we must choose between supporting Israel and supporting Arab and Muslim nations in the region. It's still in the realm of generalizations rather than a specific strategy or approach", said Hanan Ashrawi, a senior official of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The U.S. was not actively involved.

The President also notably avoided all of the thorny issues that have stymied peace efforts for decades. The UN in December reiterated that position in a Security Council resolution that labeled as illegal all Israeli settlement beyond the 1967 borders, known as the Green Line, including in the eastern part of Jerusalem.

"Some see the Six-Day War as a disaster for Israel".

Indeed, Israeli leaders are already anxious that they might lose their edge in the region.

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