US President Donald Trump waves as he arrives at the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy, on Wednesday.  He arrived from a state visit to  Israel and Saudi Arabia. Picture: REUTERS
US President Donald Trump waves as he arrives at the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy, on Wednesday. He arrived from a state visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia. Picture: REUTERS

Jerusalem — US President Donald Trump called on Israelis and Palestinians to make compromises for peace on Tuesday as he wrapped up a closely watched visit, but offered no specifics on how he would resolve the decades-old conflict.

In a speech toward the end of his visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, Trump offered a forceful defence of the Jewish state and pledged to protect the country against common enemies, including Iran.

But he also touched on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, again vowing he was "personally committed" to helping the two sides reach a deal.

After weeks earlier flashing his trademark bravado by saying the "ultimate deal" could be easier than "people have thought", Trump seemed to acknowledge the complexities that have bedevilled his predecessors. "Making peace, however, will not be easy," he told an audience of Israeli politicians and other dignitaries at the Israel Museum. "We all know that. Both sides will face tough decisions. But with determination, compromise and the belief that peace is possible, Israelis and Palestinians can make a deal."

He, however, offered no specifics on how he planned to make progress in resolving the conflict, with widespread scepticism over whether meaningful talks are possible for now.

In what may concern peace advocates, he did not specifically mention the two-state solution, long the focus of international efforts and US Middle East diplomacy.

The parts of the speech offering a robust defence of Israel drew loud applause, which seemed to energise Trump on the second leg of his first foreign trip since taking office.

After mentioning threats to Israel from Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran, he said, "not with Donald J Trump", drawing enthusiastic applause.

"I like you too," Trump said when the audience quieted.

His speech came after he met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank earlier in the day. On Monday, Trump met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. He was due to depart for Rome later on Tuesday.

AFP

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