Trump heads to Israel in possible first arrival from Saudi

Melania Trump wore a pantsuit to Sunday’s summit despite the taboo against women in trousers in Saudi Arabia More

Melania Trump wore a pantsuit to Sunday’s summit despite the taboo against women in trousers in Saudi Arabia More

An initial report of the president's May 10 meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak from The Washington Post said that the intelligence was garnered from a partner nation, but did not allege that Trump mentioned Israel. Preparations for the visit have led to criticism from Israeli right-wingers after US officials declined to say whether the Western Wall was part of Israel.

The Trump administration had said before the president's trip that he wouldn't recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a pledge he had made during the campaign.

A senior White House official told reporters on Sunday night at the end of Trump's meetings with Saudi royalty that the administration was particularly struck by the level of cooperation between Arab leaders and Israel, saying the two sides were "cooperating incredibly well with Israel". In planning for Trump's visit to Israel, the USA delegation rejected a request that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accompany him to the Western Wall, telling the Israelis it is "not your territory".

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu tried his utmost to derail the visit, the first by Abbas since 2014.

Trump is the first sitting president to visit the Western Wall.

The president's flight from Riyadh to Tel Aviv on Monday was believed to be the first direct flight between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Trump, meanwhile, claimed the story had been misreported. "They've had enough of the bloodshed and the killing, and I think you're going to see things starting to happen".

Trump's visit will be closely scrutinized as he seeks ways to restart peace efforts. Trump said that in Israel there's a "great feeling for peace throughout the Middle East", the AP notes, and that people have had "enough of the bloodshed and the killing".

Trump earlier Monday also appeared to split the difference: He visited the Western Wall in the Old City - in the city's eastern sector, captured by Israel in 1967 - accompanied by Israeli government officials, including the rabbi of the wall.

He is slated to meet separately with Netanyahu in Jerusalem and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem.

Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who are observant Jews, joined the president and his wife.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer, later asked about McMaster's comments, said "It's clearly in Jerusalem".

On "Outnumbered" today, McCain said Trump is clearly backing our closest ally in the Middle East, something she did not see from former President Barack Obama.

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