Written by Staff Writer
22 May, 2017 | 4:58 pm
US President Donald Trump has arrived in Israel as he continues his first foreign trip.
He flew in from Saudi Arabia, a key US ally, where he gave a speech to Arab and Muslim leaders at a summit.
Mr Trump will hold talks with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders during the course of his two-day stop.
The president has called an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement “the ultimate deal”, but has been vague about what form it should take.
He has said he prefers to leave it to both sides to decide between them in direct talks. On his arrival in Tel Aviv, Mr Trump said he hoped the US and Israel could work together in an era of “harmony, prosperity and peace”.
Mr Trump’s flight between Saudi Arabia and Israel is likely to have been the first between the two countries, that have no diplomatic relations.
What can we expect to come up, and what is the context for his visit?
The US president has been widely seen as considerably more supportive of Israel than his predecessor, Barack Obama. He has taken a softer position on the contentious issue of Israeli settlements, suggesting that their expansion rather than their presence might hamper the search for peace.
More than 600,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements built since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, land Palestinians claim for a future state.
The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.
The president has also sent mixed signals on the issue of Jerusalem, pledging to move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, angering Palestinians and delighting Israelis.
However he has since stalled, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently telling NBC News that Mr Trump was weighing it up.
Israel regards the whole of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians claim the east as their capital. The international community does not recognise Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem and countries maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv.
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