Trump has arrived in Israel

Monday, 22 May, 2017 - 10:26

President Donald Trump lands in Israel on Monday for the second leg of his first foreign trip as president where he will tackle the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, address regional security issues and reaffirm the US' commitment to its alliance with Israel.

The visit is the second of three stops on the President's schedule aimed at highlighting the importance of the world's three largest monotheistic religions.

He arrives in Israel after visiting Saudi Arabia, home to the two holiest sites in Islam, and will next head to the Vatican, home of the Catholic Church.

Mr. Trump has said that he wants to seal the “ultimate deal” to resolve the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an ambitious goal that has so far eluded two generations of American presidents and numerous international mediators.

Expectations are low for any major breakthrough during Mr. Trump’s nearly 36-hour visit to Israel and the West Bank, but neither Mr. Netanyahu nor President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority wants to risk angering the American president, or be portrayed as the reluctant party to resuming long-stalled peace talks.

Mr. Trump is scheduled to meet Mr. Abbas on Tuesday in Bethlehem, in the West Bank. The Palestinian areas are seething, with a mass hunger strike of prisoners in Israeli jails entering its sixth week and violent protests in support of the strike that have turned deadly.

On the Israeli side, Mr. Netanyahu said at the start of his cabinet meeting on Sunday that he would discuss with Mr. Trump ways to strengthen the Israeli-American alliance, and added in English: “Mr. President, we look forward to your visit. The citizens of Israel will receive you with open arms.”