Trump vows to work for 'just, lasting' peace between Israelis, Palestinians
Jim Watson (AFP)
President-elect Donald Trump on Friday vowed to work for a "just, lasting peace" between Israel and the Palestinians, in his first public message on the issue since his upset victory.
"I believe that my administration can play a significant role in helping the parties to achieve a just, lasting peace," Trump said in a message published by the Israel Hayom newspaper.
He also said that any peace deal "must be negotiated between the parties themselves, and not imposed on them by others".
France is currently pushing for an international conference to revitalize the moribund peace process, but Israel has said it will not take part maintaining that any peace talks should be bilateral between the two sides.
Russia has also offered to host direct talks between the two sides that have so far yet to take place.
The Palestinians have called for international involvement, accusing Israel of reneging on past agreements.
Trump adviser Walid Phares told BBC radio that Trump "is ready and he will immediately move to try and solve the problem between Palestinian and Israelis."
Trump, Phares said, believes that "as the author of ‘The Art of the Deal,’ it’s not going to be impossible for him to broker a deal between the Israelis and Palestinians."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama have had frosty relations for much of the past eight years, but initial indications are that Trump's victory could see a warming of personal relations.
Netanyahu was among the first leaders Trump spoke to after his election victory, and the president-elect's message called Israel a "beacon of hope".
"Israel and America share so many of the same values, such as freedom of speech, freedom of worship and the importance of creating opportunities for all citizens to pursue their dreams," Trump's Israel Hayom message said.
"Israel is the one true democracy and defender of human rights in the Middle East and a beacon of hope to countless people," Trump said.
- Trump committed to moving Embassy to Jerusalem -
Trump's advisers, meanwhile, have signaled that the Republican has "every intention" of upholding his campaign promise to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, so long as it is a decision supported by Congress.
"Many presidents of the United States have committed to do that," Phares told BBC radio. "He [Trump] said as well that he will do that, but he will do it under consensus."
"It was a campaign promise, and there is every intention to keep it," Trump adviser David Friedman told The Jerusalem Post.
"I think if he said it, he’s going to do it," Greenblatt told Army Radio. "He is different for Israel than any recent president there has been, and I think he’s a man who keeps his word. He recognizes the historical significance of the Jewish people to Jerusalem, unlike, say, UNESCO."
During his campaign, Trump told Netanyahu that his administration "will finally accept the long-standing Congressional mandate to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel."
Israel claims Jerusalem as its capital, but neither the United States nor the international community recognizes the city -- which is holy to three faiths -- as such.
In 1995, US Congress passed the "Jerusalem Embassy Act" for the funding of moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but every president since then has exercised their waiver to stop this, claiming it cannot be done for reasons of national security.
The move would put the US at odds with the United Nations and the Palestinians, who also see Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state.
The final two countries to operate full embassies in Jerusalem, Costa Rica and El Salvador, relocated to Tel Aviv in 2006.
(Staff with agencies)
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This man is good
"The Palestinians have called for international involvement, accusing Israel of reneging on past agreements." They've yet to ever fulfull any commitement or pledge. They completely to apart the Oslo Accords and refuse to negotiate. "The move would put the US at odds with the United Nations and the Palestinians, who also see Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state." Excellent, given the UN and the palistinians are the real and main cause of there being no peace. No palistinian state until they negotiate for one instead of the constant incitement coming from their 2 terrorist govenments.