President Donald Trump stressed his desire to broker a peace deal in the Middle East as he was joined Wednesday at the White House by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Lerman said in a conference call hosted by The Israel Project, which publishes The Tower, that Trump’s approach to the peace process would mark a return to the stance adopted by former Secretary of State James Baker, who said, “we can not want peace more than the sides themselves”.
“I want to support you in being the Palestinian leader who signs his name to the final and most important peace agreement that brings safety, stability, and prosperity to both peoples and to the region”, Trump told Abbas.
Trump has met with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas (mahk-MOOD’ ah-BAHS’) in the Oval Office, and the president says he’d “love to be a mediator, an arbitrator or a facilitator” between the two sides.
Barely two and a half months after having received Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the U.S. president greeted Abbas on the White House lawn, before ushering him into the Oval Office for their talks.
In his closing remarks, Trump said he looked to “prove wrong” those who say negotiating a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians is the toughest deal.
The peace process has been stalled since 2014, when former Secretary of State John Kerry’s effort to lead the sides into peace talks collapsed. When Mr. Abbas, in a September 16, 2015 speech that preceded 18 months of Palestinian terror attacks, exhorted on official Palestinian media: “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem”, the Palestinian people were listening.
Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday said Trump is still “giving serious consideration into moving the American embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem”.
The Trump-Abbas meeting concluded a series of consultations the new USA president held with regional leaders since assuming office.
Trump and Abbas were to spend much of the day together at the White House.
Abbas also called on Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territories.
“I can live with either one”, Trump said then at a joint press conference with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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In a February news conference with Netanyahu, Trump broke with longtime US policy by raising the one-state idea and withholding clear support for an independent Palestine, though officials quickly stressed he would support any arrangement agreed by the two sides. “Trust between Israelis and Palestinians right now really is rock bottom”, Daniel added.
However, Trump also asked Netanyahu to “hold back” on building new settlement “for a little bit”. The difference, at least at this point, is the size of the club that the Israeli prime minister and the Palestinian president believe the US president has under his desk in the Oval Office.
The White House said Trump and Abbas were seeking to improve conditions that could foster negotiations, without elaborating.