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Trump arrives in Holy Land, visits Holy Sepulcher, Western Wall


  • U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump talk to clergymen during their visit to Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher May 22. (CNS photo/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters)
  • U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, walk out of Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher May 22. (CNS photo/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters)
  • U.S. President Donald Trump places a note in the Western Wall in Jerusalem May 22. (CNS photo/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters)
  • U.S. President Donald Trump stands next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before delivering an address at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem May 23. (CNS photo/Ronen Zvulun, Reuters)
  • U.S. President Donald Trump and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shake hands as they conclude their remarks after their meeting May 23 at the Presidential Palace in Bethlehem. (CNS photo/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters)

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JERUSALEM (CNS) -- Following his official welcome to Jerusalem by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, U.S. President Donald Trump began his two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories with a private visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and Western Wall.

Details of the visits to the holy sites had been a carefully guarded secret until the last moment, but from early May 22 the alleyways of the Old City were closed to both residents and tourists, and the main thoroughfares leading to the Old City were closed off to all traffic.

Under tight security and led by the traditional kawas honor guard announcing the way with the thumping of their ornamental staffs, the president made his way by foot through the Old City's alleyways to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. He and first lady Melania Trump were welcomed at the entrance of the church courtyard by Greek Orthodox Patriarch Archbishop Theophilos III; Franciscan Father Francesco Patton, custos of the Holy Land; and Armenian Patriarch Nourhan Manougian. The president spoke briefly to the religious leaders and stopped at the entrance of the church for a group photograph after also speaking to a few other religious.

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