Mix of hope and skepticism as Trump meets Abbas in Bethlehem

Palestinian official says possible West Bank city ‘too embarrassed’ to put up pictures of Trump as visit to Church of Nativity nixed over protests; minister says ‘not optimistic’ of chances for peace talks; rocket shot from Sinai toward Israel

May 23, 2017
  • US President Donald Trump and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stand during the playing of the US anthem in Bethlehem on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 (screen capture: Channel 2)
    US President Donald Trump and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stand during the playing of the US anthem in Bethlehem on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 (screen capture: Channel 2)
  • Palestinian men hold a banner bearing a portrait of US President Donald Trump, left, and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas at a printer's in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, on May 21, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / Musa AL SHAER)
    Palestinian men hold a banner bearing a portrait of US President Donald Trump, left, and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas at a printer’s in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, on May 21, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / Musa AL SHAER)
  • Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and US president Donald Trump give press statements in Jerusalem, on May 22, 2017. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)
    Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and US president Donald Trump give press statements in Jerusalem, on May 22, 2017. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)
  • US President Donald Trump, left, reacts to a reporter's question ahead of a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Benjamin Netanyahu, right, at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on May 22, 2017. (AFP/MANDEL NGAN)
    US President Donald Trump, left, reacts to a reporter’s question ahead of a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Benjamin Netanyahu, right, at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on May 22, 2017. (AFP/MANDEL NGAN)
  • The Netanyahus and Trumps holding hands on the tarmac, arriving for the US president's historic May 22 visit (Avi Ohayon/Flash 90)
    The Netanyahus and Trumps holding hands on the tarmac, arriving for the US president’s historic May 22 visit (Avi Ohayon/Flash 90)
  • Activists protest against US President Donald Trump near the US Consulate in Jerusalem, May 22, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Activists protest against US President Donald Trump near the US Consulate in Jerusalem, May 22, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

US president Donald Trump is wrapping up his two-day visit to the region Tuesday, with a meeting in Bethlehem with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and a keynote address at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

A suspected suicide bombing in Manchester, UK, that left at least 19 dead will likely cast a dark shadow over the visit, as British police probe the attack.

 

Palestinians protest for hunger strikers in Bethlehem

Not far from the presidential palace in Bethlehem, dozens of Palestinians are protesting in support of hunger striking inmates in Israeli prison, who are 37 days into their fast.

A number of people hold up photos of prisoners refusing food and some water for better prison conditions.

Abbas reportedly plans to bring up their plight during his meeting with Trump.

The protest near the Church of the Nativity is reportedly the reason Trump will not visit the holy site.

Trump greeted by Palestinian officials, no selfies, meeting starts

Trump goes down a greeting line, shaking hands with Palestinian officials, religious figures and security leaders, and then disappears behind closed doors for talks with Abbas.

Unlike in Israel, nobody tries to take a selfie with him.

Trump, Abbas welcomed by Palestinian honor guard

The two leader stand at attention while listening to their respective national anthems. In contrast to Trump’s welcome ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport where he and Israeli leaders were surrounded by advisers and diplomats, only the two stand together in Bethlehem.

Trump Abbas meet in Bethlehem

Trump exits his limo and shares a warm handshake and photo op with Abbas. He is handed a bouquet of flowers from children and is then greeted by an honor guard as he and oppose speak briefly while walking.

MORE:   http://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog-23-5-2017/

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