Hosting Palestinian leader, Trump promises Middle East peace

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 5, 2017

President Donald Trump welcomes Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 3, 2017.

But he offered no clues as to how he could break the deadlock and revive long-stalled negotiations.

Abbas made the trip to Washington while politically unpopular back home, with polls suggesting most Palestinians want the 82-year-old to resign.

"We believe that we are capable and able to bring about success to our efforts because, President Trump, you have the determination and you have the desire to see it become to fruition and to become successful".

Trump told Abbas he wants his signature on the final peace agreement.

"I thought for a while the two-state looked like the easier of the two, but honestly if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I'm happy with the one they like the best", Trump said.

The Palestinian leader said he envisions a two-state solution with a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem, and Israel's borders defined by the so-called 1967 lines.

Mr. Trump added that he has conferred with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and he believes there is "a very, very good chance" for an agreement.

"The Palestinians and Israelis must work together to reach an agreement that allows both peoples to live, worship and thrive and prosper in peace", he said.

Mr Trump sparked worldwide criticism at the time when he appeared to back away from support for a two-state solution, saying he would leave it up to the parties themselves to decide.

He is hoping Trump can pressure Israel into concessions he believes are necessary to salvage a two-state solution to the conflict - the idea of Israel and Palestine living side-by-side and at peace has been the bedrock of USA diplomacy for the past two decades.

Mr Abbas said "it's about time for Israel to end its occupation of our people and our land" - a reference to Jewish settlement building in the West Bank.

"I believe that we are capable under your leadership and your stewardship to - your courageous stewardship and your wisdom, as well as your great negotiating ability, I believe, with the grace of God and with all of your effort - we believe that we can be partners, true partners, to you to bring about a historic peace treaty under your stewardship to bring about peace", he said. Reaffirming his commitment to a two-state solution, he called on Israel to recognise Palestinian statehood just as Palestinians recognise the state of Israel. He said "it's about time" for Israel to stop occupying Palestinian lands and to recognize a Palestinian state.

Abbas needs Trump's support to legitimize his power, and Ross encouraged Trump to press Abbas to make concessions, such as ceasing sending money to jailed Palestinians who had killed Israelis.

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