President Donald Trump used his centerpiece Holy Land speech on Tuesday to reaffirm his commitment to peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but he offered no new details on how to achieve a goal that has eluded U.S. leaders for decades.
Rounding out a 28-hour stay in Jerusalem, Trump praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas alike, saying both were ready for peace. But he avoided any mention of a Palestinian state and did not address a campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, something Netanyahu yearns for.
“I had a meeting this morning with President Abbas and can tell you that the Palestinians are ready to reach for peace,” Trump said in a speech at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
“In my meeting with my very good friend Benjamin, I can tell you also that he is reaching for peace. He wants peace,” he said. “Making peace, however, will not be easy. We all know that. Both sides will face tough decisions. But with determination, compromise, and the belief that peace is possible, Israelis and Palestinians can make a deal.”
While Trump has spoken frequently in the months since taking office of his desire to achieve what he has dubbed the “ultimate deal”, he has not fleshed out any strategy that he or his administration might have toward achieving it.
He also faces mounting difficulties at home, where he is struggling to contain a scandal after firing James Comey as FBI director two weeks ago, and a widening investigation into his administration’s connections to Russia.
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