In Front Of World Media, Melania Trump Slaps Off US President's Hand

Lauren Perry
May 24, 2017

He will also pay a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial on Tuesday, and is expected to become the first sitting US President to visit the Western Wall.

President Donald Trump's motorcade is entering biblical Bethlehem in the West Bank, passing through an opening in Israel's towering separation barrier.

Trump has vowed to do whatever he can to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but has given few specifics as to how he intends to revive long-stalled negotiations.

Earlier in the day, when receiving Mr Trump at the airport, Mr Netanyahu said Israel shared the USA leader's commitment to peace - but he also repeated his right-wing government's political and security demands of the Palestinians, including recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

Trump's two-day visit, during which he visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Western Wall in occupied East Jerusalem, comes amid fierce opposition among Palestinians who denounce the far-right leader's strong support for Israel and its policies targeting Palestinians, as well as his notorious anti-Muslim rhetoric.

The U.S. leader made his brief stop at the Western Wall unaccompanied by Israeli leaders, even though they welcomed the visit and the Western Wall is a site where Jews pray.

Earlier Monday, Trump also lashed out at Iran, Israel's arch-enemy, saying it should never be allowed to have nuclear weapons and criticising Tehran for supporting "terrorists" - a reference to militant groups it backs in the region.

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President Trump spoke of America's desire for peace for Israel and how Israel and the United States have a friendship built on a shared love of freedom, and a shared belief in human dignity.

"I make this promise to you: My administration will always stand with Israel", he said.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem, where the Western Wall is located, and the West Bank in 1967 in moves never recognised by the worldwide community.

"I would like to reiterate our commitment to cooperate with you in order to make peace and forge an historic peace deal with the Israelis", he said, speaking through an interpreter. "One needs to seize it, show leadership and boldness, and we will help them". Trump is to meet Abbas at the presidential palace in Bethlehem, which holds deep significance as the site where Christians believe Jesus was born. "I won't call these people monsters, because they would like that term".

The visit to the Western Wall drew controversy before Trump even left Washington, when U.S. officials declined to say whether it belonged to Israel. "He was very moved", Rabinowitz said. Gesturing toward the Israeli leader, the president added: "I can tell you also that he is reaching for peace".

Trump's speech drew on the symbolic nature of his first foreign trip, as he has jetted from Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, to Israel and then to the Vatican on Tuesday night, calling on members of the three faiths to "set aside our sectarian differences" and work toward peace. The Palestinians want a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, captured by Israel a half century ago.

Other reports by VgToday

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