President Trump wraps Mideast trip after Bethlehem, Jerusalem meetings

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Second, while Obama believed that the United States no longer had a strategic interest in the Middle East's oil bounty, Trump claims that America has incurred too high a cost for preserving its regional allies and should be paid more in return, describing US Arab allies as having "nothing but money".

"As the president noted, a deal can be reached with determination and compromise, and it will rest upon a foundation of security for Israelis - which requires that Palestinian incitement be seriously addressed - and dignity and self-determination for Palestinians", the IPF said. The self-proclaimed deal master calls it "the ultimate deal".

Saudi Foreign Minister Jubeir also said, "If we can change the conversation in the Islamic world from enmity towards the partnership with the USA, and if we can change the conversation in the USA and in the West from enmity towards the Islamic world to one of partnership, we will have changed our world and we will have truly drowned the voices of extremism and we will have drained the swamps from which extremism and terrorism emanates".

The president landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport for a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories as part of his first trip overseas since taking office. The former US administration of Barack Obama was deeply opposed to Israel's expansion of the settlements and in December withheld its veto from a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the policy. "The problem is not between us and Judaism. We will seek gradual reforms, not sudden intervention", Trump said.

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The U.S. has long worked with the Saudis against common enemies in the Arab and Muslim world such as pan-Arab nationalists, communists and socialists, as well as supposedly "Iran-backed" political movements involving Shia actors. If the region is to find stability and prosper, Trump must rethink his Middle East strategy. But on the major set pieces, Trump exceeded low expectations. Wealthy, stable Arab states have spent enormous amounts buying U.S. weapons and launching military interventions in Yemen, Libya and Syria in part to counter perceived Iranian influence. Today, Saudi Arabia and Israel are forming an open alliance against Iran, which Trump supports. Iran is more known for its human rights violations; but Saudi Arabia is not innocent.

The correction makes clear that The New York Times recognizes the fact that Bethlehem is indeed in the occupied West Bank. "10 out of 100 on its freedom index, below Iran's 17". Trump bashed the nuclear deal signed by the USA and Iran under former President Obama.

That seems to have been the main motivation for the American side.

"It is an evident historical point that Saudi Arabia, since its inception, has been engaged in war and terrorism", he said, adding that the past 60 years have entailed the spread of Wahhabi ideology worldwide through a campaign of mosque-building and the spread of cultural centers worldwide that indoctrinate young Muslims. And we also gave them an ability to continue with terror ... no matter where we go we see the signs of Iran in the Middle East. ...

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Trump's caution showed. He did not weigh in on Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem or even whether the USA would continue to insist on a two-state solution giving the Palestinians sovereign territory.

US President Donald Trump, left, shakes hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, May 23, 2017.

After Israel and the Palestinian territories, Trump heads to the Vatican, and to Brussels and Italy for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and G7 meetings. The New York Times reported yesterday that Israel "announced the establishment of a committee to retroactively push for legalization of settler outposts and homes in the West Bank built without government authorization". I say the focus on the problem is wrong-headed.

Israeli opposition Labour party leader Isaac Herzog attended the rally and threw his support behind a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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This means striving to "present the whole story, fairly and completely, so that readers and viewers may come to their own conclusions" based on receiving "a range of viewpoints".