US President Donald Trump launched his visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority on Monday, May 22, 2017. The Times of Israel liveblogged the visit as it happened.
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Monday declares its medium-range Pukguksong-2 missile ready for deployment after a weekend test, the latest step in its quest to defy UN sanctions and develop an intercontinental rocket capable of striking US targets.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency says the North’s leader Kim Jong-Un oversaw Sunday’s launch, which sparked a fresh chorus of international condemnation and threats of tougher sanctions.
The missile tested was the Pukguksong-2, which uses solid fuel that allows for immediate firing, KCNA says.
So far almost all the North’s missiles have been liquid-fuelled, which have to be painstakingly filled with propellant before launch, while solid fuel missiles can be fired far more rapidly.
That would dramatically shorten the time available for any attempt to intervene and prevent a launch, requiring any such decision to be taken much more quickly.
Kim said “with pride” that the Pukguksong-2 was a “very accurate” missile and a “successful strategic weapon,” KCNA says, adding he “approved the deployment of this weapon system for action.”
Police intend to close Route 1, the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway, from about noon, shortly before US President Donald Trump lands at Ben Gurion Airport for his 28-hour visit to the country.
Asked by reporters why the road closure is necessary if Trump is expected to take a helicopter from Ben Gurion to Jerusalem, Deputy Commissioner Alon Levavi explains that the highway is the backup plan if something goes wrong with the fleet of helicopters standing by to carry the president.
Route 6, the main north-south highway in the country’s center, is also slated to be closed to traffic going in both directions from Nahshonim to Nesharim junctions.
The annual “Yesod She’Ba’Yesod” prayer gathering at Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus drew some 4,000 worshipers last night, the IDF says.
One of them is an unexpected guest: former Arkansas governor, two-time Republican presidential primary candidate, and US Evangelical leader Mike Huckabee.
Huckabee accompanies Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan. In a video posted to the Israel National News website, he is seen praying at the tomb alongside some of the Jewish worshipers.
Several Palestinians from Nablus throw stones at the Israeli convoy of buses and security jeeps. Police arrest a few suspects. There are no reports of casualties on either side, and the incident does not disrupt the prayers.
The Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar claims US President Donald Trump and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi agreed during their meeting in Saudi Arabia over the weekend to hold a regional peace summit either in Sharm el-Sheikh in the Sinai Peninsula or in Washington.
The newspaper, which is allied with the Hezbollah terror group, says Trump will discuss the summit with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas when he meets them over the next two days, the Ynet news site reports.
The paper cites a diplomatic source saying that Jordan and Saudi Arabia also plan to be involved in the talks.
Starting at noon, when Air Force One is slated to land at Ben Gurion Airport, police plan to close multiple Jerusalem roads, including some of the city’s busiest throughfares.
These include: Hebron Road, Keren Hayesod, Agron, King David, Aza, David Remez, Jabotinsky, Hanasi, Ha’Ari, Flomer, Hativat Yerushalayim, Jaffa Gate, Ma’ale Hashalom, Balfour, Smolenskin.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser, says she’s “excited” about coming to Israel.
“We had an amazing and historic visit in Saudi Arabia,” she writes on her Twitter account. “I am excited to continue our trip in Israel.”
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) May 22, 2017
— Raphael Ahren
Palestinian sources tell Army Radio that Saudi officials convinced US President Donald Trump not to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Trump repeatedly promised to make the move during the presidential campaign last year, even telling audiences that he was different from previous presidential candidates George W. Bush and Bill Clinton who made the promise but never followed through.
But once in office, Trump has demurred when Israelis asked him when he might fulfill the campaign promise.
According to Palestinian officials, part of Trump’s reticence is due to the intervention of Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, who convinced Trump to delay carrying out the move in order to help open a window of opportunity for resuming peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.
Air Force One lifts off from Saudi Arabia on its way to Israel, where it is slated to land at Ben Gurion Airport shortly before 12:15 p.m., or just under two hours from now.
One stop down, four more to go. Onward to Israel. pic.twitter.com/mRQfGn5CYO
— Julie Pace (@jpaceDC) May 22, 2017
WASHINGTON — Members of key congressional committees are pledging a full public airing as to why former FBI director James Comey was ousted amid an intensifying investigation into Russia’s interference with the US election.
The probe appears to be reaching close to US President Donald Trump and his inner circle.
In Sunday show appearances, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers say they will press Comey in hearings as to whether he ever felt that Trump tried to interfere with his FBI work. Others are insisting on seeing any White House or FBI documents that detail conversations between the two, following a spate of news reports that Comey had kept careful records.
Comey was fired by Trump earlier this month. The former FBI director agreed to testify before the Senate intelligence committee after the Memorial Day holiday.
“The American public deserves to know the answers,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, a member of the Senate intelligence committee. “Did he keep these memos? What do those memos say? And why did he write it? And how did he feel? Did he ever feel like he was being put in a position where he couldn’t do his job? There’s no doubt that that’s the questions that are going to get asked, and asked repeatedly.”
The New York Times reported last week on a Comey memo indicating that Trump had urged him to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. A second Times report said Trump also had told Russian officials in a closed-door meeting at the Oval Office that firing Comey “had relieved great pressure on him.” The Washington Post, meanwhile, said a senior Trump adviser is now being considered a “person of interest” in the law enforcement investigation into whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russia to sway the election.
Several of Israel’s cabinet ministers protested yesterday that there was no point to their showing up to the welcoming ceremony for US President Donald Trump set to begin in an hour.
They were just the “backdrop,” complained one minister at yesterday’s cabinet meeting, leading Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to end the meeting early and angrily order the cabinet ministers to show up whether they like it or not.
This morning, the Prime Minister’s Office says Israeli and American officials have agreed that Trump will shake the hands of the Israeli ministers — so their attendance will not have been for naught.
Culture Minister Miri Regev explains the ministers’ annoyance in an Army Radio interview: “We don’t need to be there as scenery. It’s a four-hour wait, work hours, phone calls, mail, meetings, I have things to do in those four hours. To drag us there to stand as the scenery — that’s ugly. It’s beneath the dignity of the government of Israel and does not give any more respect to President Trump.”
US President’s Donald visit to Israel will begin half an hour late, officials say. Instead of a planned landing at 12:10 p.m. and welcoming ceremony at the Ben Gurion Airport tarmac at 12:15, the ceremony is pushed back to 12:45.
According to reports, Air Force One was delayed for half an hour in leaving Riyadh.
Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz reiterates his concerns about US President Donald Trump’s massive arms deal with the Saudis announced during the president’s summit in the kingdom over the weekend.
Standing on the tarmac at Ben Gurion Airport Monday awaiting Trump’s arrival on Air Force One, Steinitz tells Channel 2 television, “We’re first of all praising Trump and his efforts to strengthen the anti-Iranian coalition in the Middle East. With that, hundreds of billions of dollars of advanced weapons to Saudi Arabia should lead us to ask the right questions.”
He explains: “We’re in the Middle East. Today we’re on the side of the Saudis against Iranian aggression, tomorrow who knows what might happen to Saudi Arabia. That’s why our qualitative advantage should remain.”
At least three people are hurt when they are hit by a car that drove on the sidewalk in a crowded southern Tel Aviv street.
Police say it’s not yet clear if this is a deliberate attack. The driver is in custody.
The vehicle hits a person standing at a bus stop on the corner of Yafo and Nahalat Binyamin streets, then continues 50 more meters, hitting two others.
Magen David Adom rescuers say the number of people hurt from a vehicle that ran over pedestrians in a southern Tel Aviv street is up to 5.
Initial media reports, citing police sources, say the driver may be Palestinian, but police are not yet saying whether the ramming is intentional or accidental.
The incident took place near the Nahalat Binyamin outdoor market.
Channel 2 says it’s looking like the southern Tel Aviv car-ramming from a few minutes ago is an accident.
Police are still conducting their preliminary inquiry, and won’t say if the incident that left five hurt was a terror attack or traffic accident.
Police say the car-ramming in southern Tel Aviv was not a terror attack, but a car accident.
According to investigators on the scene, a driver hit a motorcycle, who then collided with a bicyclist.
All five of the wounded are lightly hurt, police say.
Palestinians are holding a general strike in the West Bank in solidarity with hunger striking prisoners in Israeli jails. The strike coincides with the arrival of US President Donald Trump for a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Hundreds of protesters are blocking roads in cities and towns of the West Bank as the hunger strike entered its 36th day Monday. A Palestinian advocacy group says several of the hundreds of hunger striking prisoners are hospitalized.
Israel Prisons Service officials said on Sunday that dozens are expected to be hospitalized in the coming days.
Palestinians say well over 1,000 are on strike, while Israeli officials insist the number is closer to 850. Many of the prisoners were convicted of terror attacks.
Stores and government offices are closed down in Ramallah, public transportation has ground to a halt and main thoroughfares in Palestinian cities are empty of people and cars.
The Palestinian prisoners’ affairs committee calls for a “day of rage” on Tuesday, when Trump visits Bethlehem, for “the voice of the prisoners to be heard by the president.”
— Agencies and Times of Israel staff
The President’s Residence in Jerusalem is preparing to host US President Donald Trump for a meeting with President Reuven Rivlin at approximately 3 p.m.
The chairs are set up. Our reporter Raphael Ahren is there.
It’s no Saudi palace. Hopefully Trump won’t mind.
— Raphael Ahren (@RaphaelAhren) May 22, 2017
Air Force One lands at Ben Gurion Airport, starting US President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel.
Even before US President Donald Trump began his trip to Israel, he already may be making history.
The president’s flight from Riyadh to Tel Aviv on Monday is believed to be the first direct flight between Saudi Arabia and Israel.
The president landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport for a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority as part of his first trip abroad since taking office.
An Israel Airport Authority spokesman says he was not aware of any direct flights ever having landed in Israel from the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia doesn’t recognize Israel and the two states don’t have diplomatic relations. There are no direct flights between the two countries and flights from either country bypass the other’s airspace.
US President Donald Trump emerges from Air Force One and descends the stairway to the tarmac and red carpet, where he greets President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, followed by Israel’s ambassador to the US Ron Dermer and America’s newest envoy to Israel David Friedman.
The leaders of Israel and the US stand at attention for the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner and Hatikvah, their respective anthems.
US envoy David Friedman, a longtime backer of right-wing Israeli causes, is seen singing the Hatikvah.
President Reuven Rivlin is the first to take the podium, welcoming his guests and hailing the “unbreakable” US-Israel alliance.
Israel needs a strong America, and American needs a strong Israel, Rivlin says. “In the Middle East — an area that suffers from terrorism, oppression and madness, the alliance between the United States and Israel shines like beacon of liberty and progress,” he says.
The people of Israel are excited about Trump’s first trip to Israel, on which they pin “great expectations,” the president adds.
“Your visit is a symbol of the unbreakable bond between Israel and America. You are the president of Israel’s greatest, most important ally. You are a true friend of Israel and of the Jewish people,” Rivlin says.
— Raphael Ahren
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says as Trump arrives in Israel that the trip is a chance to advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
“We have the opportunity to advance the peace discussions between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” he says aboard Air Force One just before landing.
Rivlin tells Trump that the relationship between Israel and the US “shines like a beacon.”
The president mentions that this week Israel will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s unification in the Six Day War.
“It makes us very happy to know that Israel’s most important ally recognizes the significance of Jerusalem to the Jewish people all around the world,” Rivlin says. “Jerusalem is the beating heart of the Jewish people, as it has been for 3,000 years.”
Finally, Rivlin mentions the fact that Trump, during his first visit overseas as US president, will visit the holy sites of all three Abrahamic religions. “We each have different beliefs — but we all worship the same God,” the Israeli president says. “We can work together towards a better future. We shall continue to do so, together. Welcome to Israel. God bless you, Mr. President. God bless you, First Lady. God bless America. God bless Israel.”
— Raphael Ahren
Prime Minister Netanyahu delivers a statement, saying his visit is “truly historic.”
“Never before has the first foreign trip of the president of the United States included a visit to Israel,” he says. “Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for this powerful expression of your friendship to Israel.
“Mr. President, yesterday in Saudi Arabia you delivered a forceful speech on terrorism and extremism, called on forces of civilization to confront the forces of barbarism. For 69 years, Israel has been doing just that. We’ve manned the front-lines of civilization.
“In doing so we’ve protected all faiths, Muslims, Christians, everyone,” Netanyahu continues. “Throughout the Middle East, Christian communities are decimated. We’re proud to have a growing, flourishing Christian community.
“Israel’s hand is extended in peace to all our neighbors, including the Palestinians. The peace we seek is a genuine one, in which the Jewish state is recognized, security remains in Israel’s hands, and the conflict ends once and for all.
“Mr. President, you just flew from Riyadh to Tel Aviv,” he says. “I hope that one day an Israeli prime minister can fly from Tel Aviv to Riyadh.”
I’m confident that under your leadership the remarkable alliance between Israel and the United States will become ever greater, ever stronger.
On behalf of the government and the entire people of Israel, we welcome you to Israel. May God bless you, Mr. President, may God bless Israel, and may God bless the United States of America.
US President Donald Trump takes to the podium.
“Thank you and shalom. It is wonderful to be here in Israel. President Rivlin, Mrs. Rivlin, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Mrs. Netanyahu, thank you very much. I am deeply grateful for your invitation and very, very honored to be with you.”
Trump praises the “unbreakable bond” between Israel and the US. “On my first trip overseas as president, I have come to this sacred and ancient land to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between the United States and the State of Israel.
“In this land so rich in history, Israel has built one of the world’s great civilizations. a strong, resilient, determined and prosperous nation.
“It is also a nation forged in the commitment that we will never allow the horrors of the last century to be repeated. Now let us build together a future where the nations of the region are at peace, and all our children can grow up strong and free from terrorism and violence.
“During my travels in recent days, I have found new reasons for hope. I have just concluded a visit to Saudi Arabia, where yesterday I met with King Salman and leaders from across the Muslim and Arab world. In that visit we reached a historic agreement to pursue greater and greater [cooperation] against terrorism.
“We have before us a rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace to this region and to its people, defeating terrorism and creating a future of harmony prosperity and peace.
“But we can only get there working together. There is no other way. Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister, I look forward to working with both of you during my stay.
“We love Israel, we respect Israel, and I bring the warmest greetings from your friend and ally, all of the people of the United States of America.”
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan commits what may be the first faux pas of the trip, telling Trump as he shakes hands with all the ministers in Netanyahu’s cabinet about an “incident” that occurred earlier today in Tel Aviv.
Erdan is referring to a car-ramming in southern Tel Aviv that left it left one person seriously injured and others lightly hurt and sparked fears of a terror attack — but was quickly ruled an accident by police investigators.
Erdan has spent the past four hours waiting for Trump at the airport. He may not be getting real-time updates from police in the field.
Upon meeting opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog in the line of dignitaries, Trump suddenly stops and converses with Herzog and Netanyahu for a full minute. Microphones did not catch the topic of conversation, but it didn’t happen with any other dignitary.
Dozens of ministers, deputy ministers, religious leaders, the heads of the army, police and Mossad — all managed to shake Trump’s hand in quiet dignity.
A few, such as Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin, asked him to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
But only Likud’s MK Oren Hazan, to Netanyahu’s horror — and despite the prime minister attempting to lower Hazan’s arm and prevent it — pulled out his cellphone and took a selfie with the US president.
Oren Hazan tries to take a selfie with Trump as Netanyahu looks on in horror pic.twitter.com/DA1cggdgyh
— Elie Leshem (@elieleshem) May 22, 2017
It may be worth noting that Hazan was not even supposed to be in the front row of dignitaries.
Police close portions of the Route 1 and Route 6 highways as US President Donald Trump makes his way from Ben Gurion Airport to Jerusalem.
Route 1 is closed to traffic from Ganot Interchange to the Ben Shemen Interchange.
The southbound lanes of Route 6 are closed from the Nahshonim Interchange to the Nesharim Interchange, police say.
Trump will fly to the capital via Marine One, the presidential helicopter, but others in his entourage will travel by car.
— Judah Ari Gross
Channel 2 turns up the volume on its microphones at the ceremony and gives a snippet of the conversation between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump.
The two call each other “friend” at their first meeting on the red carpet.
“Hello, my friend,” Trump says.
“Welcome, my good friend,” Netanyahu replies.
As they walk down the carpet, both men are confused about the protocol.
Netanyahu confesses: “We have all this protocol. We never know what it is.”
Trump replies, “What is the protocol? You have any idea what it is?”
Marine One lands at Jerusalem’s First Station, a culture and recreation area in the city’s center close to Trump’s accommodations at the King David Hotel.
Police video of Marine One touching down in Jerusalem. pic.twitter.com/q10lN2vmvN
— Judah Ari Gross (@JudahAriGross) May 22, 2017
Channel 2 catches Sara Netanyahu on the tarmac at Ben Gurion telling US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania that they have something in common.
“You know in Israel all the people like us, the media hate us but the people love us,” Sara tells the Trumps. “Like you.”
“We have a lot in common,” Trump replies.
“We’ll talk about it over dinner,” Sara Netanyahu promises.
After US President Donald Trump’s helicopter touches down in Jerusalem, police reopen the Route 1 and Route 6 highways in both directions, a police spokesperson says.
— Judah Ari Gross
US President Donald Trump arrives at President Reuven Rivlin’s official residence in Jerusalem.
US President Donald Trump signs the traditional guestbook at the President’s Residence, which is signed by every world leader who visits President Reuven Rivlin.
No word yet on what Trump wrote in the book, but the time he spent bent over it suggests it may have been more than the usual brief note of respect.
US President Donald Trump says he heard “tremendous good feeling” toward Israel from Saudi leaders.
“We just came back from Saudi Arabia. We were treated incredibly well. There’s tremendous good feeling [toward Israel],” Trump tells President Reuven Rivlin during his visit underway now at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.
The shared opposition to Iranian ambitions in the region has caused a shift, Trump says.
“I’ve seen such a different feeling toward Israel from countries that were not feeling so well toward Israel not long ago. That is a real positive. We’re very happy about that.
“You have a great opportunity. There’s a great feeling for peace. People have had enough of bloodshed.”
Of his visit to Saudi Arabia, he brags, “They say there’s never been anything like it ever before. It was a real coming together. And now being in Israel is very special.”
Rivlin affirms the hope for peace. “We are praying for peace and pushing for peace for the past 100 years.”
Trump’s guestbook note is published by Channel 2: “It’s such a great honor to be in Israel and be with all of my great friends.”
US President Donald Trump and Melania Trump sign President Reuven Rivlin’s guestbook. “It is such a great honor to be in Israel with all of my great friends,” Trump writes in capital letters.
Israeli officials are livid over MK Oren Hazan pushing his way to the front row to snatch a selfie with US President Donald Trump.
“It’s a real embarrassment,” a senior Israeli diplomatic official who witnessed the event fumes in a private conversation. “He should be punished over this.”
Hazan, a troublemaker freshman lawmaker from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, was not meant to stand in the line of senior ministers and dignitaries shaking Trump’s hand, but elbowed his way to the front as Trump made his way down the receiving line.
In his remarks to US President Donald Trump, President Reuven Rivlin hails the new US administration for its determination to uproot terrorism, saying the White House should consider additional recent military action against Syria.
“Mr. President, we are happy to see that America is back in the area. America is back again,” Rivlin says.
“You marked the defeat of ISIS as one of your top missions. This is a most important objective. Israel will do everything in its power in order to assist you in this mission.
“Israel appreciates Washington’s leadership in the action you took in Syria. There are red lines that must never be crossed. There is a price that must be paid by those who violate the most basic values that make us human. Further action must be considered in the face of the horrors that are still taking place on the other side of our border.”
— Raphael Ahren
Hosting US President Donald Trump, President Reuven Rivlin calls for “new ideas” to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
“Our destiny — Palestinians and Jews — is to live together in this land, Mr. President. We must build trust and cooperation between us,” Rivlin says at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, the first stop of Trump’s two-day visit. “But in order to achieve this we need new ideas, new energy, that will help us move forward, together.”
If Arabs and Israelis reach a peace agreement, the region could become an “oasis, an international center of tourism, a startup land, Silicon Valley from the Jordan to the Mediterranean,” Rivlin adds. “But we must be sure that we don’t go to sleep with a dream and wake up with a nightmare: With Iran, ISIS and Hamas on our borders. In order to dream, we need to be sure that Iran is out; out of our borders, out of Syria, out of Lebanon.”
Rivlin thanks his American counterpart for his willingness to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Says Rivlin: “We want to move forward, Mr. President, and we must do it, together, together with America.”
— Raphael Ahren
Trump tells Rivlin Israel is an “amazing country. What you’ve done perhaps has virtually never been done before. On my first trip overseas I’ve come to this ancient land to reaffirm the enduring friendship between the United States and the State of Israel.”
Trump tells Rivlin: “We’re not only longtime friends, we’re great allies and partners. We stand together always. This moment in history calls for us to strengthen our cooperation as both Israel and America face threats like ISIS and other terror groups and countries like Iran, which sponsors terror and foments violence not only here but all over the world.”
He adds: “Most importantly, the United States and Israel can declare with one voice that Iran can never be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon, not ever, ever, and must cease its training and funding of terror groups and militias, and must cease immediately.”
This is a “deep consensus in the world, including in the Muslim world.”
Trump mentions his trip to Saudi Arabia over the weekend: “King Salman feels very strongly, and I can tell you would love to see, peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
“Many [Muslim leaders] expressed their resolve to help end terrorism and the spread of radicalization. There’s a growing realization among your Arab neighbors that they have common cause with you on this threat posed by Iran — and it is a threat, make no mistake about that.”
Trump turns to the peace process, thanking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin for their “commitment to peace.”
He adds: “I also look forward to discussing the peace process with Palestinian President Abbas.
“Young Israeli and Palestinian children deserve to grow up in safety and to follow their dreams free from the violence that has destroyed so many lives.”
And he calls for increased trade between the US and Israel.
“The US and Israel can also bring greater prosperity to our people through greater trade and commerce.”
He turns to Rivlin and says, “I’m going to try to narrow that trade deficit just a little bit. Is that okay?” To the crowd, to general amusement, he quips: “He’d rather leave it as it is.”
He concludes: “I have great confidence that we can achieve tremendous success together, we can achieve our goals together.”
A protest breaks out near the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem, during US President Donald Trump’s visit to the capital, police say.
The protesters are Jews, but the precise agenda of the protest is not immediately evident.
Police officers on the scene quickly break up the protest and remove the demonstrators, as the area is closed off as part of the security precautions for Trump’s trip, a police spokesperson says.
Trump’s convoy is headed to the Old City for his visit to the city’s ancient holy sites, starting with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the traditional site of Jesus’s death and burial.
The US president will be met at the ancient church by the Armenian and Greek Orthodox patriarchs of Jerusalem.
He will then head to the Western Wall.
US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania meet the heads of various Christian denominations and begin their visit at one of the holiest sites in Christianity, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City, believed by most Christians to be the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection.
Pres and Mrs Trump arrive in the Old City of Jerusalem to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. pic.twitter.com/Ip7wKqZz8E
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) May 22, 2017
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) says it treated three Palestinians hit by live fire in clashes around the West Bank between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters.
Another 26 Palestinians are treated for lighter injuries.
Palestinian protests are taking place across the West Bank in solidarity with some Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli prisons, who have reached the 36th day of their strike.
At least two Palestinians are injured by live fire in clashes at the Qalandiya Crossing between Israel and the West Bank, according to the Red Crescent, while the Ma’an news agency says a total of three are hit by live fire.
Another person is injured by live fire during clashes at the village of Nabi Saleh, while another three sustain burns and two others suffer from tear gas inhalation in Abu Dis.
Additionally, at the village of Azzun near Qalqilya, the Red Crescent says 18 suffer from tear gas inhalation. At the village of Khaduri near Tulkarem, two suffer from gas inhalation, and at the village of Zif, one person is treated for an injury caused by a rubber bullet.
All those injured by live fire are in stable condition.
— Dov Lieber
Trump’s convoy is leaving the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and is headed to the Western Wall.
Trump will become the first sitting US president to visit the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray.
The Western Wall visit drew controversy before Trump even left Washington, when US officials declined to say whether it belonged to Israel.
Under heavy guard, Trump becomes the first serving US president to visit the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, located in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Trump appears to pray at the wall, places a note inside the crevices before backing away from the holy site.
Daughter Ivanka and First Lady Melania pray separately in the women’s section.
Police say security forces “neutralized” a Palestinian man as he attempted to stab Border Police officers at a guard post in the Palestinian village of Abu Dis.
No officers are reported injured. The condition of the attacker is not yet known.
— Judah Ari Gross
The Palestinian man who was shot as he attempted to stab two Border Police officers at a guard post in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Dis is killed, police say.
No Israeli forces were injured in the incident.
The attempted stabbing comes as US President Donald Trump visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City.
— Judah Ari Gross
Iran President Hassan Rouhani says the Islamic Republic does not need the permission of the United States to conduct missile tests, which would continue “if technically necessary.”
“Our missiles are for our defense and for peace, they are not offensive. Know that while there is a technical need to conduct missile tests, we will do so and we will ask the permission of no one,” Rouhani tells reporters in Tehran, following renewed criticism from US President Donald Trump.
Rouhani says that Iranians are “waiting for this government to be civil” and that “hopefully, things will settle down … so we could pass more accurate judgments.”
Rouhani also criticized a meeting Trump attended in Saudi Arabia yesterday, describing it as a “show-off” that “will not have any political and practical values.”
The president adds that “the issue of terrorism cannot be solved through giving money to superpowers.”
Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas accuses Trump of smearing the name of Palestinian “resistance” and “aligning himself with the policies of the (Israeli) occupier.”
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum says Trump’s remarks on terrorism and Islamic extremism in Riyadh yesterday were “aimed at besmirching the reputation of the Palestinian resistance.”
The group refuses to be treated as a “terrorist” organization, he tells AFP.
Meanwhile, senior Hamas official Mushir al-Masri says Trump is “aligning himself with the policies of the (Israeli) occupier”
Addressing Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia, Trump yesterday called for unity against “Islamic terror,” specifically naming Shiite jihadist groups Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic State.
— with AFP
Sara Netanyahu accompanies Melania Trump on a visit to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital.
The two first ladies are greeted by Hadassah President Ellen Hershkin and hospital director Prof. Zeev Rotstein.
Netanyahu and Trump then take part in an art project with pediatric patients in the hospital garden.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) May 22, 2017
Trump tells Netanyahu during their working meeting at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel that Iran should be grateful to the US for the benefits it received under the “terrible” 2015 nuclear deal.
“We gave them wealth and prosperity…and an ability to continue with terror,” he says.
“Iran will never have a nuclear weapon, that I can tell you,” Trump adds.
The president says the “terrible” nuclear deal reached with Iran under his predecessor Barack Obama has emboldened the Islamic republic.
Netanyahu thanks him for taking a stance against Iran a day earlier in a speech the US president gave in Saudi Arabia.
Trump adds that he is “honored” to be the first sitting US president to visit the Western Wall earlier today.
Trump tells reporters in Jerusalem that he “never mentioned the word Israel” during his recent meeting with Russian officials in which he divulged classified information that reportedly came from Israel.
In a photo op at the Kind David Hotel, Trump tells journalists that reports that Israel was the source of the intelligence were yet another thing “you got wrong.”
Netanyahu adds that US-Israeli intelligence cooperation is “terrific.”
The IDF says one of its small, tactical drones crashed in southern Lebanon earlier today.
“There is no risk of a breach of information,” an army spokesperson says.
The drone was a Skylark model, which is typically used for short-range missions.
The IDF says it is investigating what caused the drone to fall out of the sky.
In recent months, several Skylarks have crashed in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza. The army says those were not the result of a single systemic error, but were rather unrelated incidents.
— Judah Ari Gross
Israeli forces reportedly injure 13 Palestinian protesters in clashes at series of demonstrations across the West Bank, held in support of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.
According to the Palestinian news agency Maan, security forces used both live fire and rubber-coated bullets to disperse protests who marched from the West Bank city of Ramallah to the Qalandia checkpoint.
Solidarity protests were also held in Hebron.
Palestinian medical sources are quoted as saying that five protesters were wounded by live rounds in Qalandiya, but an army spokesperson says that only tear gas and rubber bullets were used to restore order.
After a photo op and making brief remarks to the press, Netanyahu and Trump continue their meeting behind closed doors at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Special Envoy for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt and Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner accompany the US president.
Attending the meeting on the Israeli side is Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, senior foreign policy adviser Jonathan Schechter, and Netanyahu’s special envoy Isaac Molcho.
— Raphael Ahren
Trump’s daughter Ivanka, says her visit to the Western Wall earlier was “deeply meaningful.”
“It was deeply meaningful to visit the holiest site of my faith and to leave a note of prayer,” she says in a tweet.
Ivanka, who converted to Judaism, visited the women’s side of the Wall after her father visited the men’s side. Her husband, Jared Kushner, is one of Trump’s top aides.
It was deeply meaningful to visit the holiest site of my faith and to leave a note of prayer.
Likud MK Oren Hazan rebuffs criticism for taking a selfie with an unamused-looking Trump after he landed in Israel earlier today, insisting to media outlets that the US president “loved it.”
“Protocols are fine, but you can deviate from them,” Hazan, a politician with a reputation for inappropriate antics, tells Channel 10. “I presented myself nicely, and I told him that I’m nicknamed ‘the Israeli Trump,’ and he really loved it.”
“He even said ‘I wish there was more like us,'” says Hazan.
The scandal-dogged MK also dismisses Netanyahu’s apparent disapproval of his gesture, jokingly saying that perhaps the prime minister was upset that he was not invited to be in the picture.
Hazan at the welcoming ceremony pulled out his cellphone and took a selfie with the US president to Netanyahu’s horror, who attempted to lower Hazan’s arm and prevent the photo.
Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu welcome Donald and Melania Trump to the “very modest” prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem for dinner.
The Trumps sign the guestbook before posing for an official photograph with the Netanyahus.
Yair Netanyahu is introduced to the US president and his wife and tells them he is a “big fan.”
Netanyahu welcomes Trump and his wife Melania to the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem, and says he is “absolutely delighted” to welcome the US president and his wife to the “united capital” of Israel and the Jewish state.
Noting Trump’s earlier visit to the Western Wall and Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Netanyahu tells Trump that Israel “protects the Christian sites like no one else does in the region.”
“We are committed to freedom of all faiths,” he says.
Netanyahu praises Trump for being the first sitting US president to visit the Western Wall, and says “the people of Israel applaud you for it.”
He goes on to say that he and Trump had a “terrific” meeting earlier, and thanks Trump for the “change on US policy on Iran” and the “reassertion of American leadership in the Middle East.”
He says the two countries can “together…roll back Iran’s march of aggression,” and work together towards Mideast peace.
“It won’t be simple. But for the first time in many years, and Mr. President, for the first time in my lifetime, I see a real hope for change,” Netanyahu says.
At a joint press conference with Netanyahu, Trump expresses optimism that a “new level of partnership is possible” between Israel, the US and the Arab world.
“There are many things that can happen now that could never have happened before,” Trump says. “We must seize them together. We must take advantage of the situation.”
The US president says that he met many Arab leaders during his trip to Riyadh earlier this week, and that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman “wants to see great things in world.”
“We are willing to work together. I believe that a new level of partnership is possible and will happen,” he says.
Trump also expresses optimism that a “renewed effort” will lead to an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
“I’ve heard its one of the toughest deals of all, but I have a feeling we will get there eventually, I hope,” he says. “There’s a lot of love out there.”
The White House puts “Jerusalem, Israel,” on its website.
A screen previewing the statements by Trump and Netanyahu at the prime minister’s residence noted the location as being in “Jerusalem, Israel.”
US policy doesn’t hold that the city is part of Israel. Rather, Democratic and Republican administrations have said Jerusalem’s status must be solved through US negotiation.
No explanation was given for the dateline.
The Trump administration had said ahead of the president’s trip that he wouldn’t recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a pledge he made during the campaign.
But people familiar with Trump’s trip said officials might offer a subtler gesture to recognize Israel’s strong feelings about Jerusalem being its eternal capital.
— with AP
Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett again calls on Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In a speech delivered to mark Jerusalem Day, Bennett tells the visiting US president that he “touched the hearts of the Israeli people” by visiting the Western Wall earlier today.
Bennett calls the international community’s non-recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital a “historic anomaly.”
“Jerusalem has been our capital for 3,000 years. More than Paris for France, London for England or Washington, DC for the United States,” he says at a Jerusalem Day event being held at the International Convention Center.
”As the leader of the free world, and of Israel’s best friend, you have the historic opportunity to be the first leader to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital,” Bennett says.
”On behalf of the Israeli people left and right, and on behalf of Jews around the world, I call on you today: President Trump please make history! Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital!”
Trump’s administration continues to waiver on whether it will change longstanding US policy by declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
Earlier, a screen preview on the White House website announcing upcoming statements by Trump and Netanyahu noted the location as “Jerusalem, Israel.”
Less than an hour later, the dateline was revised to mark the location as only “Jerusalem.”
No explanation was given for the original or revised datelines.
The Trump administration had said ahead of the president’s trip that he wouldn’t recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a pledge he made during the campaign.
Saudi King Salman describes Trump’s visit to the Muslim kingdom in the Gulf as a “turning point” in relations between the two countries.
“This is a turning point in relations between the two countries,” Salman tells his council of ministers, according to state news agency SPA.
He said relations between the two countries will advance from a partnership to the “level of strengthening consultations, cooperation and coordination on all fronts.”
Trump yesterday concluded his landmark visit to Saudi Arabia, which he chose for his first foreign trip since taking office in January, during which the allies announced arms deals and investments worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Dozens of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem are protesting against the recent arrest of a draft-dodging yeshiva student, police say in a statement.
Protesters at the entrance to the city attempted to block the light rail tracks near Nordau Street.
Police dispersed the protesters from the scene without making any arrests.
Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, protesting in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, burned images of visiting President Trump.
Some protesters carried signs denouncing the US president for “selling off the rights of Palestinians,” while others burned American flags and images of Trump.
Palestinians were protesting in solidarity with the more than 1,000 Palestinian security prisoners refusing food in Israeli prisons, who have reached the 36th day of their hunger strike.
Today, Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem observed a general work strike in solidarity with the security prisoners.
Earlier, the Palestinian prisoners’ affairs committee called for a “day of rage” tomorrow, when Trump visits the West Bank town Bethlehem, for “the voice of the prisoners to be heard by the president.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman meets with US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who arrived in Israel with President Donald Trump earlier today for a 28-hour visit to the region.
According to Liberman, the two discussed the security cooperation between the US and Israel.
עם היועץ לביטחון לאומי של ארה"ב, הרברט מקמאסטר, הערב בפגישת עבודה בירושלים.
With US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, in Jerusalem pic.twitter.com/AlP3ZvEpPl
— אביגדור ליברמן (@AvigdorLiberman) May 22, 2017