Abbas to Trump: Peace agreement must be based on two-state solution

Laura Christensen
May 7, 2017

Acknowledging an Israeli-Palestinian accord is seen as the "toughest deal to make", Trump told Abbas, "Perhaps we can prove them wrong" - before heading into a meeting with the Palestinian Authority president.

President Donald Trump confidently predicted that a lasting Middle East peace agreement was within grasp Wednesday, as he hosted Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas at the White House.

Abbas' visit comes more than two months after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Trump at the White House, where the two men's chummy relationship was on full display.

Ushering in peace between the Israelis and Palestinians isn't the only thing Trump thinks is easier than people have said in the past.

"We raise our children and grandchildren on a culture of peace, and we seek for them to live in security, freedom and peace like all other children in the world, including Israeli children", he said.

On Wednesday, with Abbas at his side, Trump said he is willing to be a "mediator", "arbitrator", or "facilitator" - if that's what it takes to "get this done".

U.S. officials quickly stressed afterwards that Mr Trump would support any arrangement agreed by the two sides.

Both Trump and Abbas said a peace deal would go a long way to ending the instability that led to the rise of radical Islamic terrorists such as ISIS, which Abbas said "has nothing to do with our noble religion".

Speaking through a translator, Abbas echoed Trump's upbeat tone, saying, "We believe that we can ... be true partners to you to bring about a historic peace under your stewardship". "It's something that, I think, is, frankly, maybe not as hard as people have thought over the years".

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"Any agreement can not be imposed by the United States, or by any other nation", Trump said.

Palestinians are watching closely, including the leader of the radical Hamas movement Khaled Meshaal, who called on Trump to break with past approaches to Middle East peace.

"President Abbas... How can you speak of peace with Israel and at the same time fund murderers who spill the blood of innocent Israelis at every turn?"

That move would likely spark Palestinian fury and is privately seen by many in the Israel and U.S. security establishments as needlessly inflammatory.

Trump also urged Abbas' support to sign a peace treaty between the Palestinians and Israel.

Underscoring the inherent difficulties of forging a peace agreement, Abbas told reporters that "it's about time for Israel to end its occupation of our people and our land".

He did not respond to questions from the press pool about whether he is still considering moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence said the White House was giving "serious consideration" to the idea.

Trump's top foreign policy advisers were on hand for Abbas' visit.

In late December 2016 during the waning moments of the Obama administration, the UN Security Council passed a resolution condemning Israel's settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Other reports by My Hot News

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