Trump visits Jerusalem to seek paths to Israeli-Palestinian peace

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JERUSALEM (AP) - As President Donald Trump became the first sitting US president to visit the hallowed Western Wall on Monday, it remained unclear whether his administration was changing longstanding USA policy by declaring the wall's location to be Israel, versus Jerusalem.

First lady Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump, the President's daughter, also prayed at the wall, at the portion reserved for women.

But Trump's visit to the wall comes after United States officials who met with Israeli officials to arrange Trump's visit sparked off a controversy by contending that the Western Wall was part of the West Bank - which is not the US' policy.

Trump has vowed to do whatever is necessary to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians - something he has called "the ultimate deal" - but has given little indication of how he could revive negotiations that collapsed in 2014.

Earlier on Monday, on Mr Trump's first visit to Israel as president, he said he sees a growing recognition among Muslim nations that they share a "common cause" with Israel in their determination to counter threats posed by Iran. This is a deal that is good for all.

"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", the US President stated during his joint news conference with the Palestinian leader.

KEITH: And I will say that there are a lot of people skeptical about whether he can really do this and whether it's harder than he thinks it is. And he said, the wall is part of Jerusalem, which is the diplomatic answer.

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KEITH: Well, he is the first sitting US president to do this.

His talks in Bethlehem with the Palestinian president came after Trump on Monday made a heavily symbolic visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem and met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Trump's visit comes just before Israelis on Wednesday will mark the "unification" of Jerusalem 50 years ago, which is regarded by Palestinians and the worldwide community as the "occupation" of East Jerusalem.

Hazan told Ynet News of Israel how he ingratiated himself to Trump.

Trump's actions since have left them disappointed, with the embassy remaining in Tel Aviv - at least for now - and the White House seeking to restart peace efforts.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner visits the Western Wall, Monday, May 22, 2017, in Jerusalem.

More than 10,000 police officers, border police, special patrol units and undercover units have been deployed across Israel to secure the visit, closing major highways and disrupting daily life. We had an wonderful two days and their feeling toward Israel is really very positive. The White House-driven effort is a sharp shift from the practice of previous US administrations, which have typically given secretaries of state those reins. On Tuesday, he will go briefly to the West Bank to see Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and will later speak in Jerusalem before heading to Rome and then Brussels. Trump asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu what protocol was as they approached the dais before delivering their speeches. But complicating the issue for the Trump administration is the president's promise during the campaign to move the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which would be a de facto recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

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