Lauder praises Trump for underscoring Jewish people's historic ties to Jerusalem

Lauder praises Trump for underscoring Jewish people's historic ties to Jerusalem

Security was tight for Trump's journey to Bethlehem, a 20-minute drive from Jerusalem but located across Israel's separation wall.

The last talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, led by former US Secretary of State John Kerry, broke down in April 2014 after about a year of largely fruitless discussion.

He became the first sitting USA president to visit the site in East Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognized by the global community.

"Mr Abbas assures me he is ready to work towards that goal in good faith, and Israeli Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu has promised the same".

"I extend my deepest condolences to those so terribly injured in this terrorist attack and to the many killed and the families - so many families of the victims. But they are losers, just remember that".

The New York Times reported that the line prompted a standing ovation, and that Netanyahu walked over to shake Trump's hand.

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Mr Abbas said he welcomed Mr Trump's efforts, which had "given all the nations across the region so much hope and optimism of the possibility of making a dream come true".

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.

The report quotes a Palestinian official who said that Trump has not abandoned the two-state peace plan, but he does seek to explore other possible venues, including a broad Middle East peace plan and another interim agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians.

In Bethlehem, Trump said he was "truly hopeful" for an end to the decades-long conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, and added that goodwill from his visit would turn into peace talks.

Abbas underlined that the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis was not based on religion.

Trump has vowed to do whatever necessary to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, dubbing a peace accord "the ultimate deal". The measures included extending the operating hours of the Allenby Bridge border crossing between the West Bank and Jordan, expanding a West Bank industrial zone and allowing Palestinian construction in areas of the West Bank under full Israeli control. It comes after Trump urged leaders in the Middle East to seize a "rare" opportunity to overcome past rifts to join together for peace and stability and to unite against a common threat: Terrorism. The US leader already visited Israel, Saudi Arabia and is heading next to Italy, Belgium and the Vatican.

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