Trump in Israel pays tribute to victims of Holocaust, 'history's darkest hour'

ReutersU.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands after Trump's address at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem May 23, 2017.

Donald Trump has paid his respects to the victims of the Holocaust at Israel's Yad Vashem memorial museum.

Speaking at the site's Hall of Remembrance, the US President said: 'We are here at Yad Vashem to honour the memory of six million Jews who were sent to their deaths. Words can never describe the bottomless depth of that evil.'

Trump referred to the genocide as 'history's darkest hour', and said 'millions of beautiful lives' were taken.

The Holocaust, he said, was 'the most savage crime against God and His children and it is our solemn duty to mourn every life that was so viciously taken'.

Trump praised the Jewish people for their perseverance after the tragedy, saying: 'They have thrived. They have become so successful in so many places. The State of Israel is a strong, a soaring monument to the solemn pledge we repeat and affirm: Never again.'

He added: 'As long as we refuse to become bystanders to the barbaric then we know peace and justice will ultimately prevail.'

Trump was accompanied by his wife, Melania, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law and Middle East adviser Jared Kushner as well as the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara.

The President laid a wreath, carried by two US Marines in formal dress, in honour of the dead, lit a remembrance flame and listened to a cantor sing the El Maleh Rahamim ('God Full of Mercy') prayer.

A children's choir sang the ballad 'My God, my God,' written by the young World War II parachutist Hannah Szenes not long before she died attempting to infiltrate Nazi-occupied Europe.

Speaking immediately after Trump, Netanyahu said the Holocaust offered the lesson that 'Israel must always be able to defend itself'.

Netanyahu added: 'We remember the hatred toward Jews that consumed a defenseless people. We pledge never to be defenseless against that hatred again.'

The Israeli PM then turned to the deadly terror attack in Manchester overnight, saying: 'I want to say something about the bloody horror in Manchester last night. The slaughter of innocents must be unconditionally condemned and unflinchingly confronted no matter where it occurs – in Manchester, San Bernardino or Jerusalem: Terror is terror is terror. We must all unite to defeat it.'

Referring to Trump's speech in Bethlehem earlier today in which the President called terrorists 'losers,' Netanyahu said to Trump: 'I know you agree with me, that it is our job to make sure they continue to lose. We will defeat them.'

During his relatively brief, half-hour visit to the haunting museum, Trump was presented with a replica of a personal album that belonged to German Jewish girl, Ester Goldstein, who was murdered by the Nazis.

In the guest-book, the President wrote: 'It is a great honor to be here with all of my friends — so amazing + will Never Forget!'

Later this afternoon, Trump gave a separate speech at the Israel Museum in which he said both sides of the conflict in the region are ready for peace. 

'I had a meeting this morning with President Abbas and can tell you that the Palestinians are ready to reach for peace,' Trump said.

'In my meeting with my very good friend Benjamin, I can tell you also, that he is reaching for peace. He wants peace,' he added. 'Making peace, however, will not be easy. 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.'