With hopes for peace uncertain, Trump to visit Israel

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday makes his first official visit to Israel, where he is determined to broker a long elusive peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

But reality has set in as all Trump's earlier talk - of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, of not worrying about Jewish settlements in Arab land and of dropping insistence on the pesky two-state solution - appears to have been just that: talk.

Over half-a-million Jews live in about 140 settlements built since Israel's 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, land the Palestinians claim for a future state.

A senior official who was part of the Palestinian delegation said Trump is planning to try to relaunch peace talks, with a goal of reaching an agreement within a year.

In an apparent attempt to calm opposition from within Netanyahu's coalition government, seen as the most right-wing in the country's history, the security cabinet also approved setting up a committee to work for retroactive legalisation of wildcat Israeli construction in the West Bank, the official said.

The move is being interpreted by analysts as Israel's message to U.S. President Donald Trump that Prime Minister Netanyahu is ready for talks with PA leader Mahmoud Abbas.

There has been some consternation in Israel in the run-up to Mr Trump's trip over remarks made by administration officials.

At the same time, he urged Israel to hold back on settlement building in the West Bank, a longstanding concern of Palestinians and much of the world.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967 in moves never recognised by the worldwide community. "Drive them out", Trump said. And he also hasn't said whether his request to halt settlement activity - already more modestly stated than past presidents - applies to East Jerusalem.

Anger is also building over Trump's failure to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Senior Saudi officials expressed optimism over the success of Trump's unconventional approach and point to the 2002 Arab Peace initiative as the start of the solution.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected Mr Tillerson's suggestion that moving the embassy might harm the peace process, while a US Consulate official caused outrage by saying the Western Wall, one of Judaism's holiest sites, was "not in your [Israel's] territory but part of the West Bank". "There are no security measures or easing of security", the source said adding that the measures did not change the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian relations.

Dr. Itzhak Brook, a professor of pediatrics and medicine at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., spoke at the Jewish Community Center on Youngstown's North Side on Sunday during a program titled Celebrate Jerusalem Day, which focused on the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, a significant outcome of the war.

United Nations in his 2010 address that it was possible the dream of a Palestinian state could be realized in the next year.



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