Trump and the Mideast: Looking at the bigger picture

Lauren Perry
May 27, 2017

In a similar statement, Husam Zomlot, chief Palestinian representative to the United States, said, "There is a very solid bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Palestine based on many years of working together".

Speaking alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Trump offered his condolences and condemned the "wicked ideology" that led to the attack.

Israelis are pleased after President Donald Trump's visit to the Holy Land, but Palestinians are disappointed.

"I am committed to trying to achieve a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians and I intend to do everything I can to help them achieve that goal".

Firstly, calling for a wide embrace of Israel: "a hopeful future for children in the Middle East requires the world to fully recognise the vital role of the State of Israel".

Noting how Trump did not mention Palestinian statehood or a two-state solution in his public remarks with Abbas, Knesset member Ofir Akunis (Likud) said, "This is a huge achievement, on a historic scale, and a big win for anyone opposed to the mistaken and unsafe idea of a Palestinian terror state in the heart of Israel".

"I would like to draw the attention to the issue of our Palestinian prisoners, who have been on hunger strike for more than one month, meters away from here in the vicinity of the Church of the Nativity". Trump steered through the complex political terrain of the Middle East and strengthened alliances by repeating simple messages.

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And he abandoned his criticism of Saudi Arabia's human rights record following his warm welcome in the desert kingdom this week. He has rolled back a number of Obama-era climate change measures, which will hamper US efforts to fulfill its Paris pledges.

In its official itinerary for Trump's visit to Israel and the disputed territories, the White House referred to Abbas as the leader of "Palestine", which could be construed as a form of recognition of an independent Palestinian state.

He's also backed away from his campaign pledge to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, bending to the same security risks as other presidents who have made that promise.

Thanks to Obama's do-nothing approach in the Middle East, Iran and Russian Federation filled the void, supplying Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with weapons to fight a bloody civil war and commit atrocities against his people like gassing women and children.

Mr. Tillerson also suggested there's even more room for President Trump to moderate his views as he's exposed to more Muslim leaders. "And we are keen to keep the door open to dialogue with our Israeli neighbours", Abbas told his American counterpart, stressing, however, that the real problem was in occupation and settlements. The PA has enacted legislation and created bureaucracies to ensure financial rewards for perpetrators of anti-Israel attacks.

Although Trump was the not the first president to visit the Western Wall, he was the first sitting president to do so.

Trump repeatedly claimed during his tour that Iran provides arms and funds to terrorist organizations, in a likely bid to unite Saudi Arabia and Israel against a common enemy.

If the Israelis or Palestinians were looking for a political victory from President Donald Trump's first visit to the region, both were left wanting. And seasoned diplomats with years of experience wrestling with the peace process are skeptical that a band of novices will be able to untie that Gordian knot anytime soon.

Other reports by VgToday

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