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The Latest: Trump Says Didn't Mention Israel to Russians

The Latest: Trump Says Didn't Mention Israel to Russians

Monday, 22 May 2017 11:38 AM EDT

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump's first trip abroad (all times local):

6 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he never "mentioned the word or the name Israel" during a recent conversation with top Russian diplomats.

Speaking alongside Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump was referencing revelations that he divulged classified information about an Islamic State threat in a recent meeting with Russia's foreign minister and ambassador.

U.S. officials said the information originated from Israel.

Trump says, "I never mentioned the word or the name Israel in that conversation." But it was never alleged that Trump told the Russians that Israel was the source of the intelligence, just that he shared the information with the Russians.

Netanyahu added that U.S.-Israeli intelligence cooperation is "terrific."

5:45 p.m.

Israeli police say a Palestinian was killed after he tried to stab officers near Jerusalem as President Donald Trump visited the city.

Spokeswoman Luba Samri says the man was shot after running with a knife at officers near Abu Dis, a Palestinian town on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

The incident occurred as Trump visited Jerusalem's Old City a few miles away.

Since 2015, Palestinians have killed 42 Israelis, two visiting Americans and a British student in scores of attacks. In that time, Israel says some 246 Palestinians died by Israeli fire, mostly attackers.

Israel blames the violence on incitement by Palestinian leaders compounded on social media sites that glorify and encourage attacks.

Palestinians say it stems from anger over decades of Israeli rule in territory they claim for a future state.

4:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump has paid his respects at the Western Wall, the holiest place where Jews can pray.

Wearing a black skullcap, Trump walked slowly toward the wall and pressed his right hand flat against the stone for about 30 seconds. He then tucked a prayer note into a deep crevice. His wife and daughter Ivanka, who converted to Judaism, visited the women's section of the wall.

The site in Jerusalem's Old City in east Jerusalem was at the center of a recent spat between the two allies following the U.S refusal to say it is part of Israel.

Before visiting the Wall, Trump visited the Church of the Holy Supulchre. It's believed to be where Jesus was crucified, and where his tomb is located.

Trump is on his first visit to Israel as president.

4:15 p.m.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is touting President Donald Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia, partly because of the lack of protesters in Riyadh, the capital.

Ross seemed unaware that dissent is swiftly punished in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom has also increased its public beheadings.

Ross said during an interview with CNBC on Monday that he believed there was some "liberalizing" in the theocracy, a repressive society in which women have far fewer rights than men.

He illustrated that point by saying he saw "not a single hint of a protester" during the president's two-day stay.

In a speech Sunday on combatting extremism, Trump suggested that the U.S. would no longer emphasize human rights in its dealings with the Middle East.

3:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump has signed the guestbook at the official residence of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

In a short inscription, Trump wrote: "It is such a great honor to be in Israel and be with all of my great friends!"

Following tradition, a tree was planted in Trump's honor in the presidential garden, as has been done for other visiting dignitaries, including the pope and former President Barack Obama.

Rivlin showed Trump the almond tree, whose plaque quotes a Psalm saying, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem."

Rivlin told Trump on the way out that "indeed we pray for peace in Jerusalem."

3 p.m.

President Donald Trump says Israel's Arab neighbors are realizing they share a "common cause" with Israel in the threat from Iran.

Trump is urging the U.S. and Israel to boost cooperation against common threats, and declaring that Iran never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.

He says Iran — Israel's chief enemy in the Middle East — must also cease funding, training and supplying weapons to terrorist groups and militias.

Speaking during his first visit to Israel as president, Trump says there is strong consensus on these issues among the world's nations, including many in the Muslim world.

Trump also thanked Israel's leaders for being committed to achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

He meets Tuesday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (mahk-MOOD' ah-BAHS').

2:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says in Israel that there's a "great feeling for peace throughout the Middle East," expressing optimism at the start of his visit.

Trump says alongside Israeli President Reuven Rivlin that people have had "enough of the bloodshed and the killing."

Rivlin tells Trump that "we are praying for peace and we are pushing for peace for the last 100 years and with god's help somebody will bring us peace."

The White House has downplayed the prospects of a breakthrough on jumpstarting the Middle East peace process but Trump has been bullish on the potential for peace during his presidency.

Trump is meeting Tuesday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (mahk-MOOD' ah-BAHS').

1:30 p.m.

As President Donald Trump shook hands with Israeli Cabinet ministers and dignitaries, it didn't take long for Mideast politics to make their way into the presidential visit.

Israel Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the nationalist Jewish Home Party, told the president that the time has come for the U.S. to recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel.

On the campaign trail, Trump promised to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He has backed away from that promise since taking office, saying the issue needs more study.

Israel captured east Jerusalem 50 years ago and claims the area — home to sensitive Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy sites — as part of its capital. The Palestinians also claim east Jerusalem as their capital.

It was not immediately clear how Trump responded to Bennett.

1:25 p.m.

A lawmaker from Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud party whipped out his cellphone and pushed himself into a selfie with President Donald Trump.

Backbencher Oren Hazan nudged himself into the line of Israeli dignitaries greeting Trump upon his arrival at the airport in Tel Aviv. After shaking Trump's hand, Hazan said "I wish I could do a selfie with you." Trump responded "What?" but an undeterred Hazan took out his phone and posed alongside an unamused Trump.

Netanyahu was unsuccessful at pushing aside the wayward lawmaker's arm.

In his two years in office, Hazan has generated much outrage for his antics. He's faced accusations of assaulting a public official, sexually harassing women, pimping prostitutes and providing drugs to tourists at a Bulgarian casino.

1:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump says peace in the Middle East can be achieved only by working together. He says, "there is no other way."

Trump spoke during a brief airport ceremony after he arrived in Israel on his first visit as president.

Since taking office in January, Trump has been bullish about wanting to help Israelis and Palestinians achieve a peace that so far has been elusive. Trump meets later in the day with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

On Tuesday, Trump sits down with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (mahk-MOOD' ah-BAHS').

At the airport, Trump urged both sides to take advantage of the "rare opportunity" that he says currently exists under his administration to bring security, stability and peace to the region and its people.

1 p.m.

Israel's prime minister has praised President Donald Trump's "clarity and conviction" in his speech in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

In the speech, Trump laid out a call to combat Islamic radicalism.

At an airport greeting ceremony, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel has been at the front line of the fight against terrorism for decades.

At the same time, he says Israel welcomes Trump's push for peace, and its hand is extended in peace "to all neighbors, including the Palestinians."

12:55 p.m.

Trump's visit to Israel began with a lighthearted moment.

Trump landed at Israel's international airport in Tel Aviv and was greeted by Israel's president, prime minister and their wives after descending the stairs from Air Force One.

Walking along a red carpet before the national anthems were played, Trump asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, "What is the protocol?"

Throwing up his hands, Netanyahu replied: "Who knows?"

12:50 p.m.

Iran's foreign minister has accused President Donald Trump of using foreign policy as an excuse for selling billions of dollars' worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted "Iran-fresh from real elections-attacked by US President Donald Trump in that bastion of democracy and moderation. Foreign policy or milking KSA of $480B?" KSA is an abbreviation for Kingdom of Saudia Arabia.

Meanwhile, official IRNA news agency said the foreign ministry spokesman, Bahram Ghasemi, strongly condemned the promotion of Iran-phobia by the U.S. "Washington stops policies such warmongering, interventions, Iran-phobia and selling dangerous and useless weapons to main terrorists supporters."

Trump and Saudi King Salman signed agreements Saturday cementing their countries' military and economic partnerships.

The agreements include a military sales deal of about $110 billion, effective immediately, plus another $350 billion over the next 10 years.

12:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump is opening his first visit to Israel as president.

Air Force One touched down in Tel Aviv Monday morning. Israel is the second leg of Trump's first foreign trip, an ambitious five-stop swing through the Middle East and Europe.

The president will meet Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He'll also visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall, an important Jewish holy site.

On Tuesday, Trump will meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. White House advisers have downplayed the prospects of a breakthrough on the jumpstarting the Middle East peace process during the president's trip.

From Israel, Trump will head to the Vatican for an audience with Pope Francis. He'll close his trip with summit meetings in Brussels and Sicily.

10:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump's flight from Riyadh to Tel Aviv may make history as the first direct flight between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

The president is set to land at Ben Gurion International Airport on Monday for a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

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.

An Israel Airport Authority spokesman says that he was not aware of any direct flights ever having landed in Israel from the kingdom.


10:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump is closing the first leg of his maiden overseas trip.

Trump departed Saudi Arabia on Monday morning after two days of meetings in the ultra-conservative desert kingdom.

The president next heads to Israel, where he'll meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Trump will be testing the waters for jumpstarting the dormant Middle East peace process, though White House officials have tamped down prospects for a breakthrough on the trip.

Trump's trip will also take him to the Vatican, Brussels and Sicily.


7:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump has declared in the past that finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is "maybe not as difficult as people have thought."

And now he will make his first visit to Israel full of promises but with few concrete ideas of solving the problem that has vexed presidents for decades.

Trump, fresh off two days in Saudi Arabia, will journey to Jerusalem on Monday and his stay will include separate meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Trump also planned to visit the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem and the Western Wall, an important Jewish holy site.

Despite the president's claim, White House aides have tried to play down expectations for significant progress on the peace process during Trump's stop.

© Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Latest on President Donald Trump's first trip abroad (all times local):6 p.m.President Donald Trump says he never "mentioned the word or the name Israel" during a recent conversation with top Russian diplomats.Speaking alongside Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin...
ML,Trump,The Latest
Monday, 22 May 2017 11:38 AM
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