Battle lines drawn in Israel embassy move

Oren also emphasized that Israel would never give up Jerusalem in a peace deal with the Palestinians.

Speaking during a World Economic Forum session, Saeb Erekat, secretary of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation's executive committee and chief Palestinian negotiator, and former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni said the two-state solution leading to the creation of an independent Palestinian state was a "fundamental" solution. Hard-liners who dominate Netanyahu's government grew particularly concerned when White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster voiced support last week for Palestinian "self-determination".

"People are exposed to it and it raises suspicion", he continues.

Controversy precedes the US president on his stop in Israel as well, following Trumps alleged disclosure of Israeli intelligence to Russian officials. Officially, the United Nations, the United States and others consider the Old City and East Jerusalem occupied territory and do not recognize Israel's claim to sovereignty over it.

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On Tuesday morning, the president is expected to travel to Bethlehem to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas where he will "urge Palestinian leaders to take productive steps toward peace", according to the White House website.

But in recent weeks the mood has since soured.

"Most people think that the campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has at a minimum been put on the back burner for now", said Michele Dunne, director of the Middle East program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Such a decision, Arab leaders say, would inflame the Arab street and could lead to an increase in extremism.

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Israel sees all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians view east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Trump, during his campaign, repeatedly promised to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which Israel considers its capital.

The two officials voiced optimism about US President Donald Trump's efforts to strike a peace deal and stressed on the importance of the US-Islamic summit in Riyadh in this regard. "His voters expected him to listen and I want to believe that he will fulfill the promise he made to his voters", Shaked said, adding that her party was elected to "ensure that no Palestinian state is established and to ensure that the embassy is moved". The area, captured by Israel in 1967, is not sovereign Israeli territory and Palestinians there are not Israeli citizens and do not have the right to vote. But the administration's preparations for the trip have tempered Israeli excitement around his visit.

"And who would have imagined a U.S. President coming to Israel during his first few months in office and going to the Kotel, which no President has ever done in office". Senior White House officials, including Friedman, have close ties with Beit El. More than a third of Palestinians believe his administration will allow continued Israeli settlement building, escalating Israeli-Palestinian tensions.

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Trump has handed son-in-law Jared Kushner and longtime business lawyer Jason Greenblatt the assignment of charting the course toward a peace process.

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