Sun May 21 14:42:49 EAT 2017
Sites Trump will visit in his Holy Land trip
When US President Donald Trump lands in Tel Aviv on Monday for the Israeli-Palestinian leg of his trip, he will hold talks with leaders from both sides, but also visit key sites:
- Located in the Old City of Jerusalem's annexed eastern sector, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre contains a 19th-century shrine built on the site where tradition says Jesus was buried and resurrected.
- The ornate shrine recently underwent a $3.7-million renovation that restored its stones to their original reddish-yellow and reinforced the heavily visited site.
Jerusalem, Undefined | AFP |.When US President Donald Trump lands in Tel Aviv on Monday for the Israeli-Palestinian leg of his trip, he will hold talks with leaders from both sides, but also visit key sites:
- Church of the Holy Sepulchre -
Located in the Old City of Jerusalem's annexed eastern sector, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre contains a 19th-century shrine built on the site where tradition says Jesus was buried and resurrected.
The ornate shrine recently underwent a $3.7-million renovation that restored its stones to their original reddish-yellow and reinforced the heavily visited site.
The church draws tens of thousands of Christian pilgrims for the "Holy Fire" ceremony, the highlight of the Eastern Christian calendar, which takes place on the eve of Orthodox Easter.
One of Christianity's holiest sites, the church is shared by six denominations: the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Egyptian Copts, Syrian Orthodox and Ethiopian Orthodox.
- The Western Wall -
The Western Wall is the last remnant of the supporting wall of the second Jewish temple, built by King Herod and destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.
The holiest site where Jews can pray, the Western Wall is located in the Old City of east Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in 1967 and later annexed.
It is situated below the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third holiest site, referred to by Jews as the Temple Mount.
The Western Wall's plaza serves as a place of gender-segregated Jewish prayer, administerd by the ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitz, who will accompany Trump on his visit there.
Trump will be the first sitting US president to visit the site, where it is customary to place notes containing prayers and requests between the stones.
The White House reportedly refused to allow Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to join Trump at the site, known in Hebrew as the Kotel (wall).
Israel sees all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians view east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
When Trump's envoy to Israel David Friedman arrived to take up his position this month, his first act was to visit the Western Wall, where he prayed and kissed the ancient stones.
- Yad Vashem -
Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, perched on a forested hillside in west Jerusalem, is among the world's foremost Holocaust education, documentation and research centres.
The vast complex includes a variety of monuments, archives and displays, including the Hall of Names with its cone structure featuring pictures of Holocaust victims, and the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations, where thousands of trees are dedicated to non-Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust.
Dignitaries and celebrities visiting Israel nearly always find the time for Yad Vashem, which is the second-most visited site in Israel after the Western Wall.
Yad Vashem recently urged White House press secretary Sean Spicer to visit its website after he said that unlike the Syrian regime, Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons. Spicer later apologised for his "insensitive" remarks.
More than six million predominantly European Jews were killed during the Nazi genocide in World War II, many of them by poisonous gas.
- Israel Museum -
Not far from Yad Vashem is the Israel Museum, where Trump is set to deliver a speech, after the more exotic location of the desert fortress Masada was ruled out.
The museum boasts a collection of nearly 500,000 objects of art and archaeology, ancient and modern, including the Dead Sea Scrolls which date back more than two millennia and include some of the earliest texts from the Bible.
In 2013, then-president Barack Obama viewed the Dead Sea Scrolls at the museum in a move seen as a nod to the ancient roots of the Jewish state.
- Bethlehem -
Trump is due to meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in Bethlehem, located in the West Bank, occupied by Israel for 50 years.
It is the "little town" where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born and it attracts thousands of pilgrims at Christmas.
Located just 10 kilometres (six miles) from Jerusalem across Israel's separation wall, it is the site of the Church of the Nativity, which contains an underground cave where Christians believe Mary gave birth to Jesus.
Israel's separation wall is part of a project begun in 2002 during the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, that is to extend around 700 kilometres (450 miles) once completed. It is a stark symbol of the occupation for Palestinians, and in Bethlehem it has been covered by graffiti and street art.