U.S. ready to deal with any North Korean ‘Christmas gift’: Trump

U.S. ready to deal with any North Korean ‘Christmas gift’: Trump
By Alexandra Alper

PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday brushed off North Korea’s warning of a “Christmas gift”, saying the United States would “deal with it very successfully,” amid U.S. concerns that Pyongyang might be preparing a long-range missile test.

“We’ll find out what the surprise is and we’ll deal with it very successfully,” Trump told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort. “We’ll see what happens.”

“Maybe it’s a nice present,” he quipped. “Maybe it’s a present where he sends me a beautiful vase as opposed to a missile test.”

North Korea warned Washington earlier this month of a possible “Christmas gift” after its leader Kim Jong Un gave the United States until the end of the year to propose new concessions in talks over his country’s nuclear arsenal and reducing tensions between the two long-time adversaries.

In issuing the warning, North Korea accused Washington of trying to drag out denuclearization talks ahead of Trump’s re-election bid next year and said it was “entirely up to the U.S. what Christmas gift it will select to get.”

U.S. military commanders have said that the North Korean response could involve the testing of a long-range missile, something North Korea has suspended, along with nuclear bomb tests, since 2017.

Trump has repeatedly held up the suspension of such tests as evidence that his policy of engaging with North Korea, which has involved unprecedented summits with Kim, was working.

ICBM TEST IN 2017

North Korea’s last test of an intercontinental ballistic missile took place in November 2017. That involved a Hwasong-15 ICBM, the largest missile it has ever tested, and which it said was capable of reaching all of the United States.

Trump and Kim have met three times since 2018, but there has been no substantive progress in dialogue. North Korea has demanded an end to international sanctions while the United States says Pyongyang must first commit to giving up its nuclear weapons.

Recent days have seen a flurry of international diplomacy aimed at preventing a complete breakdown of dialogue and avoiding a return to the heated confrontation seen two years ago that raised fears of war.

China, North Korea’s most important economic and diplomatic backer, together with Russia, proposed last week that the U.N. Security Council lift some sanctions to break the current deadlock.

A U.S. State Department official responded by saying it was not the time to consider lifting U.N. sanctions when North Korea was “threatening to conduct an escalated provocation, refusing to meet to discuss denuclearization, and continuing to maintain and advance its prohibited weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.”

North Korea has conducted repeated tests of short-range missiles this year and this month carried out what appeared to be engine tests at a rocket-testing facility U.S. officials have said Kim promised Trump he would close.

Pyongyang said the tests were aimed at “restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the U.S.”

(Reporting by Alexandra Alper, Tim Ahmann and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Alex Richardson and Alistair Bell)

Carols and bells in Bethlehem as Christmas draws near

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (Reuters) – Christmas cheer rang out through Bethlehem’s Manger Square on Monday as pilgrims and worshippers flocked to the city revered as Jesus’s birthplace and locals made final preparations for this year’s festivities.

Children dressed as Santa Claus sang carols and rang bells during a Christmas-themed show at the College des Freres, which sits in the biblical city’s central market where holiday decorations and wooden nativity scenes line the narrow alleys.

The main attractions in Bethlehem are the 4th-century Church of the Nativity, built over a grotto where Christian tradition says Jesus was born, and the 16-metre (52-foot) Christmas tree in Manger Square.

On Tuesday – Christmas Eve – the acting Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, will lead a procession from Jerusalem to nearby Bethlehem and later celebrate Midnight Mass in the Church of the Nativity, squeezing through its narrow sandstone entrance.

Bethlehem’s Christmas season lasts through the Eastern Orthodox celebration on Jan. 7 to Armenian Christmas on Jan. 18.

The season offers measured cheer for Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city, which is separated from nearby Jerusalem by a towering Israeli concrete military barrier.

Bethlehem is enjoying its busiest tourist year in two decades, with foreign pilgrims coming in large numbers, taking advantage of a relative lull in Israeli-Palestinian tension.

Israel said on Sunday it would allow Christians in the Palestinian Gaza Strip to visit Bethlehem and Jerusalem at Christmas, reversing an earlier decision not to issue them permits.

(Writing by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Bethlehem set for a Happy Christmas: more rooms, more inns and part of its manger back

Bethlehem set for a Happy Christmas: more rooms, more inns and part of its manger back
By Stephen Farrell

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (Reuters) – As the Christmas decorations go up in Manger Square, Bethlehem is preparing for its best Christmas for two decades, the town’s mayor and hoteliers say.

Five new hotels are in the pipeline and existing ones are expanding. The town has even extended the opening hours of the Church of the Nativity, revered by Christians worldwide as the place of Jesus’ birth.

But even after three years of relative peace and prosperity, people are still nervous in the small Palestinian town, a few miles south of Jerusalem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

So dependent has Bethlehem become on tourist income that an upsurge of violence anywhere in the volatile Middle East – not just in its near vicinity – spells financial disaster, with nervous tour groups prone to cancelling months ahead.

Sitting in his municipality office overlooking the newly lit Christmas tree in Manger Square, Mayor Anton Salman said Bethlehem looked set to improve upon the 1.5 million visitors it received last year.

“Since three years (ago), things are going up, this year is better than 2018 and 2018 was better than 2017 and it is a continuous increase in the number of tourists who are coming to the city,” Salman told Reuters.

The main bottleneck, he said, was the tiny front door of the Nativity church, through which pilgrims must crouch to enter. Once vast, it was reduced in size centuries ago by the Crusaders, then again during the Mamluk and Ottoman Turkish eras to prevent looters driving carts into the church.

For the first time this year the authorities extended the church’s opening hours from sunset to 8 p.m., Salman said, and in 2020 they plan to enlarge the town’s coach station and to address heavy congestion on the narrow road to Manger Square.

They will even consider asking tourist groups to register in advance in future. “If the number will be high and the church can’t receive all of them we need to look for other plans that can be helpful,” he said.

GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS PAST

This year townsfolk are abuzz about a new attraction – a wooden relic reputed to be from the manger used by the infant Jesus and sent back last week to Bethlehem from Rome.

But the town remains wary. Bethlehem enjoyed good times until the outbreak of the second Palestinian uprising in 2000, which saw years of mutual blood-letting between Israelis and Palestinians, leading tourism to collapse.

Scars remain – most visibly Israel’s high concrete wall that towers over the northern entrance to Bethlehem, and separates it from Jerusalem.

Palestinians call Israel’s military barrier a land grab. Israel says the cordon of fences, ditches and walls has drastically reduced attacks on its citizens.

The manager of the Alexander Hotel in Bethlehem, Joey Canavati, said his family had nearly given up on the town during the lean years, but now had bookings through to 2021. The hotel plans to nearly double in size from 58 to 110 rooms.

“Business has been booming, we have never seen it like this ever before,” he said. “(With) the number of tourists that have been coming in this year we have a huge lack of rooms here in Bethlehem.”

But he added a familiar note of caution: “It’s always about stability.”

(Writing by Stephen Farrell, additional reporting by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Black Friday sees fewer shoppers in U.S. stores as spending moves online

Black Friday sees fewer shoppers in U.S. stores as spending moves online
By Melissa Fares and Nandita Bose

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Fewer people lined up outside stores as Black Friday shopping kicked off, suggesting early discounts offered by retail chains and a surge in online buying may have taken the shine off America’s biggest shopping day.

Spot checks across the country showed there were fewer shoppers this year as retail chains started offering discounts earlier than usual to make up for a shorter holiday season.

Some shoppers also worried that tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump on Chinese imports would make their holiday shopping more expensive, though many large retailers had not raised prices to protect margins.

“There were definitely some concerns about prices due to what we see in the news about the trade war, but I haven’t seen the impact yet, so I am planning to spend about the same this year as I have in the past,” said Jay Smith, 28, who was shopping at a Macy’s in Pentagon City to buy clothes and toys for her family.

While store traffic still remains an important indicator, a lot of shopping during Thanksgiving and Black Friday now happens online. Adobe Analytics, which measures transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers, estimates $7.5 billion in online sales for Black Friday, growth of over 20.5% year-over-year.

Online sales on Thanksgiving Day alone jumped 17% to $4.1 billion in the United States, according to Salesforce. Global online revenue rose 24% to $20 billion.

Companies including Walmart Inc , Target Corp , Costco Wholesale Corp  and Best Buy Co Inc  have bulked up their online presence, deliveries and fast in-store pickups to attract customers.

Though Black Friday remains an important day for holiday shopping, its relevance is fading as the condensed shopping season this year has accelerated early promotions and spending. Retailers have six fewer days to make sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

That has pulled spending into early November. More than half of consumers polled by the National Retail Federation (NRF) in the first week of this month had already begun making purchases. On average, Americans had already completed almost a quarter of their shopping, the most in the history of NRF’s surveys.

“We’ve seen many merchants start their promotions pretty much right after the trick-or-treaters have gone to bed,” said Lauren Bitar, head of retail consulting at analytics firm RetailNext.

Sales made prior to Thanksgiving and Black Friday could erode “the spike that we have seen in sales dollars historically,” Bitar said.

Several shoppers on Friday said they regularly make sure they are getting the best deal by making price comparisons, oftentimes as they are shopping in-store.

“I will come to the mall, look at prices and go back and check them online,” said Dick Doyle, 76, who was shopping at a Modell’s Sporting Goods while his wife was next door at Nordstrom Rack <JWN.N>. Doyle is an Amazon <AMZN.O> Prime member, which keeps him “locked in” to shopping the online retailer.

“Prices and discounts online are competitive to what’s available in stores,” he added.

Meanwhile, in France, activists staged protests against Amazon on Friday, denouncing the rampant consumerism typified by the annual Black Friday shopping frenzy.

(Reporting by Melissa Fares in New York, Nandita Bose in Washington, Richa Naidu in Chicago and Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Sweta Singh, Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Nick Zieminski)

U.S. holiday shoppers spend record $126 billion online

FILE PHOTO: Shoppers walk through the King of Prussia Mall, United States' largest retail shopping space, in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, U.S., December 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mark Makela

By Melissa Fares

(Reuters) – U.S. shoppers spent a record $126 billion on online shopping during the 2018 holiday season, taking advantage of early discounts on Amazon.com and other websites and with more people using smartphones to place their orders, Adobe Analytics said on Tuesday.

Adobe, which collects its data by measuring 80 percent of all online transactions from the top 100 U.S. web retailers, said the amount was 16.5 percent higher than last year’s total.

Mobile platforms made up 51 percent of traffic to retail websites during the November-December period and were responsible for nearly a third of all online spending.

Online shoppers spent $3.7 billion on Thanksgiving and $6.2 billion on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

Cyber Monday the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday &mdash; was the biggest U.S. online shopping day ever, with $7.9 billion spent.

Top-selling items online were L.O.L. Surprise Fingerlings toys; Take-Two Interactive Software’s video game Red Dead Redemption 2; Nintendo’s Switch console; streaming devices; and Dell and Apple laptops, Adobe said.

Consumers spent an average 40 percent more per day during the three weeks after Cyber Monday than in the first three weeks of the season, Adobe said. Sales continued to grow until Dec. 17.

While the online sales figures showed how low U.S. unemployment rates and rising wages boosted consumer confidence during the holiday season, department stores continue to struggle.

Further, consumer confidence in 2019 is seen as likely to be strained by rising U.S. interest rates, the ongoing trade dispute with China, market volatility due to concerns over global growth and political deadlock in Washington.

Macy’s Inc shares plunged 18 percent on Thursday after the department store chain slashed its full-year profit and sales forecast on the back of an anemic holiday season.

Kohl’s Corp reported similarly muted comparable sales growth for the holidays, sending its shares down as much as 9 percent on Thursday. Shares of Target Corp were down nearly 4 percent even after the retailer posted relatively strong holiday sales growth of nearly 6 percent on Thursday.

Overall sales for the 2018 U.S. holiday shopping season rose 5.1 percent to over $850 billion, hitting a six-year high, as shoppers were encouraged by early discounts, according to a Mastercard report in late December.

(Reporting by Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Wall Street set to open higher as post-Christmas rally continues

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 27, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

By Medha Singh

(Reuters) – Wall Street was set to open slightly higher on Friday, extending a two-day rally amid volatile trading and raising hopes that the recent selloff may have eased for now.

The three main index futures rose more than 1 percent before paring some gains.

At 8:38 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 0.43 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 0.38 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 0.23 percent.

The final week of 2018 has seen wild swings in equities, with the CBOE Volatility Index, Wall Street’s main fear gauge, hitting its highest level since early February before easing slightly.

The benchmark S&P 500 tested its 20-month low early in the week and was at the brink of bear market territory before the three main indexes roared back with their biggest daily surge in nearly a decade on Wednesday and a late rally the following day.

On Thursday, the S&P fell as much as 2.8 percent but closed 0.8 percent higher as markets turned around late in the session.

In a sign of optimism on trade on Friday, China opened the door to imports of rice from the United States for the first time ever in the run-up to talks between the two countries in January.

“Yesterday’s reversal suggests the market has made a temporary bottom and we could probably rally well into the new year,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

“In spite of the government shutdown, the market seems more concerned on trade talks, which are somewhat lifting the negative sentiment.”

Stocks could swing between gains and losses due to the volatility but end-of-the-year window dressing and investors looking to buy stocks at attractive valuations should end in a positive session, Cardillo said.

Heavyweight technology names including Microsoft Corp, Apple Inc and Amazon.com  – which were among the biggest boosts to Wall Street’s rally on Thursday – rose more than 0.5 percent in premarket trading.

Of the 30 Dow components, 29 were trading higher.

The three indexes are set to end the week with gains of more than 3 percent each, snapping three straight weeks of steep losses.

Still, the indexes are down more than 9 percent for December and remain on track for their biggest annual percentage drop since 2008.

Investors head into 2019 with a list of worries ranging from U.S.-China trade tensions, rising interest rates and a cooling economy to a partial U.S. government shutdown, which is now in its sixth day.

(Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

Authorities must do more to meet airport drone threat: UK police chief

FILE PHOTO: Passengers wait around in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the closure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) – Government and security officials must “up their game” to tackle the illegal use of drones at airports which brought chaos to London’s Gatwick airport in the run-up to Christmas, Britain’s most senior police officer said on Thursday.

Three days of drone sightings at Britain’s second busiest airport lead to about 1,000 flight cancellations and disrupted the travel of 140,000 passengers in what is thought to be the most disruptive incident of its kind.

London’s Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said no police force around the world could be sure of preventing the problem posed by drones at airports.

“I think the whole country and certainly the government will have watched what’s gone on and said we need to up our game here,” Dick told BBC radio.

“You won’t find a police service in the world I think who would be sitting complacently thinking: ‘well we could always deal with a drone’.”

The drones were first spotted at Gatwick on Dec. 19. Every time the airport sought to reopen the runway, the drones returned and authorities only regained control over the airfield after the army deployed military technology to guard the area.

Security Minister Ben Wallace said on Monday that Britain’s security forces now had detection systems that could be deployed across the country to combat the drone threat.

“The drone technology is always changing. We have to keep up with that. There are a whole variety of tactics and technologies that we are now using, can use and in the future they will have to change again I’m sure,” said Dick.

“I’ve been talking to colleagues around the world. I can tell you this is not an easy problem. We are doing our very best here and going into the future I’m sure working closely with others we will get better and better.”

The police investigation into the Gatwick incident is ongoing. Detectives on Sunday released without charge two people they had suspected of flying the drones.

Flying drones within 1 km (0.6 mile) of a British airport boundary is punishable by up to five years in prison.

“We need to work even more closely with the private companies, we need to work even more closely with the military, we need to try to be able to prevent the criminal use of drones for whatever motivation near our airports,” Dick said.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by William Schomberg)

Police hunt through eastern France for Strasbourg Christmas market attacker

French soldiers patrol past the traditional Christmas market in Nice, France, December 12, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

By Vincent Kessler and John Irish

STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) – Police searched through eastern France on Wednesday for a man suspected of killing at least two people in a gun attack on a Christmas market in Strasbourg and who was known to have been religiously radicalized while in jail.

Witnesses told investigators the assailant cried out “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greater) as he launched his attack on the market, the Paris prosecutor said.

The prosecutor, Remy Heitz, also suggested the suspect may have chosen his target for its religious symbolism.

“Considering the target, his way of operating, his profile and the testimonies of those who heard him yell ‘Allahu Akbar’, the anti-terrorist police has been called into action,” Heitz told a news conference.

Police identified the suspect as Strasbourg-born Cherif Chekatt, 29, who is on an intelligence services watch list as a potential security risk.

An investigation had been opened into alleged murder with terrorist intent and suspected ties to terrorist networks with intent to commit crimes, Heitz said.

Two people were killed and a third person was brain-dead and being kept alive on life support, he said. Six other victims were fighting for their lives.

France raised its security threat to the highest alert level, strengthening controls on its border with Germany as elite commandos backed by helicopters hunted for the suspect.

French and German agents checked vehicles and public transport crossing the Rhine river, along which the Franco-German frontier runs, backing up traffic in both directions. Hundreds of French troops and police were taking part in the manhunt.

Deputy Interior Minister Laurent Nunez said he could not rule out that the fugitive had already crossed the frontier.

SERIAL CONVICT

The gunman struck at about 1900 GMT on Tuesday, just as the picturesque Christmas market in the historic city was shutting down.

He engaged in two gunfights with security forces as he evaded a police dragnet and bragged about his acts to the driver of a taxi that he commandeered, prosecutor Heitz said.

No one has yet claimed responsibility, but the U.S.-based Site intelligence group, which monitors jihadist websites, said Islamic State supporters were celebrating.

French and German security officials painted a portrait of Chekatt as a serial law-breaker who had racked up more than two dozen convictions in France, Germany and Switzerland and served time in prison.

“It was during these spells in jail that we detected a radicalization in his religious practices. But we there were never signs he was preparing an attack,” Minister Nunez said.

One German security source said the suspect was jailed in southern Germany from August 2016 to February 2017 for aggravated theft but was released before the end of his 27-month sentence so that he could be deported to France.

“He was banned from re-entering Germany at the same time”, the security source in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg said. “We don&rsquo;t have any knowledge of any kind of radicalization.”

BORDER CONTROLS

The attack took place at a testing time for President Emmanuel Macron, who is struggling to quell a month-long public revolt over high living costs that has spurred the worst public unrest in central Paris since the 1968 student riots.

The revelation that Chekatt was on a security watchlist will raise questions over possible intelligence failures, though some 26,000 individuals suspected of posing a security risk to France are on the “S File” list.

Of these, about 10,000 are believed to have been radicalized, sometimes in fundamentalist Salafist Muslim mosques, in jail or abroad.

Police had raided the suspect’s home early on Tuesday in connection with a homicide investigation. Five people were detained and under interrogation as part of that investigation.

At the Europa Bridge, the main border crossing in the region used by commuters traveling in both directions, armed police inspected vehicles. Police were also checking pedestrians and trains arriving in Germany from Strasbourg.

“We don’t know where the attacker is and we want to prevent him from entering Germany,” a spokeswoman for the German border police Bundespolizei said.

French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet said there was no need for the government to declare a state of emergency.

Secular France has for years grappled with how to respond to both homegrown jihadists and foreign militants following attacks in Paris, Nice, Marseille and beyond.

In 2016, a truck plowed into a Bastille Day crowd in Nice, killing more than 80 people. In November 2015, coordinated Islamist militant attacks on the Bataclan concert hall and other sites in Paris claimed about 130 lives.

There have also been attacks in Paris on police on the Champs-Elysees avenue, the offices of satirical weekly publication Charlie Hebdo and a kosher store.

A man drove a trunk into a crowd at a Christmas market in Berlin in December 2016, killing 12 people.

(Reporting by Vincent Kessler, Geert De Clercq, Sophie Louet, Sudip Kar-Gupta, Emmanuel Jarry and Richard Lough in Paris, Vincent Kessler and Gilbert Reilhac in Strasbourg, Sabine Siebold and Andrea Shalal in Berlin; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Tourism in Bethlehem booming as Christmas nears

A tourist prays in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank, December 10, 2018. REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta

By Rami Ayyub

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (Reuters) – Bethlehem is enjoying its busiest Christmas season on record, the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism said on Monday, with hotels in the birthplace of Jesus almost fully booked for the holiday.

Tourism has recovered following a fall in knife and car-ramming attacks which helped push visitor numbers in the biblical city to a 10-year low in 2015. Bethlehem store owners also said they were benefiting from a surge of visitors to Israel in its 70th anniversary year.

Filing past a sixteen-meter Christmas tree in Manger Square, lines of pilgrims squeeze through the narrow sandstone entrance to Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, a centuries-old basilica whose grotto, Christians believe, is where Jesus was born.

“We have never received this number of tourists coming to Palestine,” said Palestinian Minister of Tourism Rula Ma’ayah.

“Especially in a city like Bethlehem, tourism creates waves throughout the economy.”

A Palestinian worker carves a figurine for sale during Christmas season, at a workshop in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, December 10, 2018. REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta

A Palestinian worker carves a figurine for sale during Christmas season, at a workshop in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, December 10, 2018. REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta

Hotel occupancy rates in Bethlehem are expected to exceed 95 percent by the end of December, the city’s hoteliers’ association said.

“We are fully booked during the Christmas season,” said Wissam Salsa, Manager of the Walled Off Hotel, a quirky Bethlehem guesthouse designed by the British street artist Banksy.

“But of course, our hotel is fully occupied all of the time,” Salsa added. “It is in the West Bank.”

The hotel overlooks a towering concrete section of the barrier that Israel has built through the occupied West Bank, cutting off Bethlehem from Jerusalem.

Israel says the barrier stops suicide bombings, while Palestinians complain that it loops around Israeli settlement blocs in the West Bank, where they want to set up a state.

Some American pilgrims in Bethlehem seemed to regard their visit as a continuation of a tour through Israel, rather than a trip to a Palestinian city.

“Coming to Israel has always been on my bucket list,” said Robyn Jackson, 36, a travel adviser from Phoenix, Arizona who was shopping for souvenirs in a Bethlehem street leading to Manger Square. “Being in Bethlehem and all the places where Jesus walked is amazing.”

For one group of American travelers, Israel’s anniversary — together with U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to open an embassy there — was certainly a factor.

“I think excitement has been stirred because of the embassy move,” said Keith Jiles, 55, a pastor from Atlanta, Georgia.

Tourists visit the grotto at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, December 10, 2018. REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta

Tourists visit the grotto at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, December 10, 2018. REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta

“People had been afraid in the past to come. But the excitement has built. And you’re gonna see more tourism because of it,” he said.

Trump’s Jerusalem decisions delighted Israelis but infuriated Palestinians and their allies, who warned that a unilateral move could lead to turmoil and hamper U.S. efforts to restart long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The last round of negotiations broke down in 2014.

(Reporting by Rami Ayyub and Mustafa Abu Ganeyeh, editing by Ed Osmond)