Christian leaders urge Trump to declare Jerusalem as Israel's capital

Posted May 23, 2017

The Palestinians don't know what to expect because Trump has not yet endorsed the bedrock of U.S. Middle East diplomacy since the Oslo (peace) Accords of 1993, namely, the two-state solution.

But he is also contending with a raft of problems back home, including a special counsel investigating whether his associates colluded with Russian Federation.

The new measures were seen as confidence-building steps ahead of Trump's visit.

"I hope that President Trump would give us a chance", Erekat said at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa at the Jordanian Dead Sea resort of Sweimeh.

Because Trump is visiting Saudi Arabia first, where he will meet with Arab leaders, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Gilboa explained there is a fear that the initial expectation may be flipped: instead of using the Arab leaders to pressure the Palestinians to make concessions, the Arab leaders may use Trump to pressure the Israelis to make concessions.

Trump or any other "mediator" can not expect Israel to make peace with a Palestinian state that rewards the family of any Palestinian who kills or damages an Israeli.

The worldwide community, including the USA, largely does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as it is claimed by both Palestinians and Israelis.

Trump's insistence that he wants to bring Israel and the Palestinians back to the peace table, accompanied by overtures to Palestinians, have caused some second-guessing of Trump's motives on Israel's political right. The unchanged, official U.S view is that the status of Jerusalem can only be decided through negotiations between the government of Israel and representatives of the Palestinian people. -Israeli relations in the past are beginning to return. Israeli officials were furious and demanded an explanation from the White House, which later clarified that the diplomat's comments do not reflect official policy. He urged Netanyahu to reject Palestinian statehood and insist that Jerusalem remain under Israeli sovereignty forever.

He also held face-to-face talks in Washington with Abbas earlier this month, confidently predicting that a peace agreement was within grasp.

The following day, Trump will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, and then stop in occupied East Jerusalem, to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Western Wall - reportedly to become the first sitting USA president to visit the contested holy site that stands adjacent to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Supporters of the move say it would send a signal to the world that America stands by its allies and recognizes their sovereign territory.

The veteran Israeli and Palestinian negotiator says she is optimistic about President Donald Trump's latest Mideast bid.

The Prime Minister's Office was reportedly concerned the measures would face opposition from Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett, who was said to be working to dissuade other cabinet members from backing Netanyahu's plan.

Some even called for an end to the idea of Palestinian state.