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Intel spat adds to Israeli concerns about Trump visit

23 May 2017

Palestinian factions in the West Bank are calling for "A Day of Rage" to coincide with US President Donald Trump's visit to Bethlehem on Tuesday, where he is expected to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The minister's office, which spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the visit, told CNN that a number of ministers meant to skip the arrival ceremony at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport because it is expected to be brief.

The White House released a video detailing President Trumps current trip to the Middle East.

Trump visits Israel on Monday, after starting his trip to the region in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

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Also on Thursday, a White House official told Breitbart News that it does not expect to announce plans to move the USA embassy to Jerusalem, despite Trump's campaign promise to do so.

Trump campaigned on a pledge to move the embassy, but has retreated from it since assuming office. The city is claimed as a capital by both Jews and Palestinians, however, and relocating the embassy - and essentially declaring Jerusalem to be Israeli territory - would raise tensions. However Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations dismissed the report, saying it was full of half-truths and lies.

It will be a challenging visit, not only in light of the recent headlines, but also the efforts to resume peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. I call on the prime minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] to join this regional coalition, and obviously renewing the negotiations with the Palestinians is a condition to forging this regional coalition which Israel is a part of.

The revelation that Israel was the ally who provided the intelligence that Trump passed on to now threatens a diplomatic crisis with a longtime ally. "But as troubled as the US-Israeli relationship can sometimes be, it isn't going away, so I don't really see this dramatically hurting or dramatically helping American-Israeli relations". The official who had asked not to be identified told Bloomberg News that the new decision was aimed at avoiding any and all provocations that could jeopardize peace talks with the Palestinians.

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USA presidential trips are an opportunity to project power and burnish statesmanship.

Trump is singularly fixated on delivering a Middle East peace deal, administration officials said, even if that means jettisoning the long-standing USA stance that any resolution should be based on a two-state solution. He urged Netanyahu to reject Palestinian statehood and insist that Jerusalem remain under Israeli sovereignty forever.

Dennis Ross, a veteran former Middle East negotiator who has been consulted by Trump's aides, said the president must avoid raising hopes for a quick resolution of the conflict that has eluded successive US administrations. While the probability of the "ultimate deal" seems as slim as ever, Trump will begin with the more achievable first step that his predecessors took: trying to goad the parties back to the negotiating table. At the time, the hotel housed the British administrative headquarters for Palestine.

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Intel spat adds to Israeli concerns about Trump visit