President Donald Trump said during his visit to Bethlehem and Jerusalem last month that leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority "assured" him they were "ready to reach for peace," The Hill reported Friday.
"I also traveled to Bethlehem, another ancient city of wonder, where I met with Palestinian leader President Abbas. Both President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu assured me they are ready to reach for peace," Trump said in his weekly address on Friday, describing his first trip as president to the region.
On Thursday, Trump signed a waiver to keep the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, although he campaigned on moving the embassy to Jerusalem. White House officials said the president signed the waiver in an effort to encourage peace.
"President Trump made this decision to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, fulfilling his solemn obligation to defend America's national security interests," the White House said.
During his visit to the region in May, Trump called for peace, maintaining it was "possible if we put aside the pain and disagreements of the past and commit together to finally resolving this crisis."
Jerusalem is an obstacle in the peace process, as it has the Western Wall, one of Israel's holiest sites. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of an independent state.
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