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US spat erupts ahead of Trump visit to region

When Tillerson was nominated for secretary of state, Conservative Review was one of the few news outlets to report on his ties to despotic Arab nations, some of which do not even recognize Israel's existence.

Abbas, who is being hosted by India ahead of Modi's first ever visit to Israel, said New Delhi's role will have significance as it has good relations with both the countries.

There has been speculation that Trump would visit the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism, during his Israeli trip, which would make him the first sitting U.S. president to do so.

Mr Adelson is said to be frustrated that the president has not fulfilled his campaign pledge to move the embassy on his first day in office.

The statement did not go over well in Israel. Current US policy is that East Jerusalem's status should be determined by Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Israel's Channel 2 TV says the Americans rebuffed a request from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to join Trump and told him the site is part of the West Bank and not Israeli territory.

The Trump administration seems to have made a decision to follow that path as well.

It will be the second time Trump sits down with the Palestinian leader in a period of three days.

Trump, they added, will reiterate his belief that Israeli settlement construction on land claimed by the Palestinians does not advance peace prospects.

United Nations ambassadors, world leaders, diplomats and even USA presidents have all touted a two-state solution as the way to bring lasting peace to the Middle East, and many repeat the familiar narrative that Israel is the main obstacle to that two-state, peaceful solution. "We'll see how determined he is, and how much he will invest personally". Eran noted that much of the senior staff positions of the State Department and the National Security Council still remain unfilled - making the task even more hard.

"Israel's position has been stated many times to the American government and to the world", he said.

JD-U President Sharad Yadav said that Indians would always stand in support with the Palestinian people. Zomlot said, however, that it might be "too early for us". "But he still doesn't have a fully developed idea of how to deal with Israel-Arab issues".

There was no immediate comment from the White House.

The reaction to Trump's reported visit to the site shows why sitting United States presidents have stayed away from the Western Wall.

There is no "peace process". A visit to the holy site is on the president's agenda. "So perhaps if we start without a plan, it might work", he said, drawing laughter from an audience of diplomats, journalists and experts.

Israel has often said that while the Palestinian Authority calls for the process, you don't actually come to the talks table.

"He thinks he can succeed where others have failed; I would be surprised if something substantial comes out of it", said Bar-Ilan's Rynhold said.

The US official allegedly gave a harsh response, saying, "No way". The official is confident that Trump now understands that there is no alternative to a two-state solution. Some suggest an agreement on water.

In their meeting, they said the Palestinian issue was the core of conflicts in the Middle East. This could not be achieved unless there is a strong global backing for the peace efforts.

Joshua Mitnick is a contributing editor at The New York Jewish Week.


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