Trump says Palestinian and Israeli leaders ready to "reach for peace"

Carla Harmon
May 24, 2017

"The terrorists and extremists, and those who give them aid and comfort, must be driven out from our society forever", Trump said.

"But Muslims, Christians and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience", he underscored. "We have a strong foundation on which to build an even closer trading relationship that benefits both of our countries", Trump said.

"Making peace, however, will not be easy".

"I want you to know how much we appreciate the change in American policy on Iran which you enunciated so clearly just an hour ago".

While both Netanyahu and Abbas have made positive noises about their readiness to negotiate, both also face domestic constraints on their freedom to manoeuvre and strike a deal.

Trump also reiterated his commitment to bringing peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

It is true that Trump believes in a grand bargain that would lead to peace between Israel and the larger Arab world, but he apparently differs with Netanyahu on the direction: inside-out versus outside-in.

Whether one considers him a buffoon or the great hope for peace, the image of a USA president in silent meditation at the core of Judaism's foundation in Israel's capital city will endure, and gained Trump untold goodwill points with the right-of center Israeli public - which he will need if his peace efforts require Israeli concessions.

Standing alongside Trump, Abbas, 82 and in the 12th year of his original five-year term, said he was determined to deliver an agreement for all Palestinians, although he did not provide any substance on how such an objective could be achieved. That's despite Trump's campaign rhetoric, which signaled he would embolden right-wing forces in Israel.

During his stay in Saudi Arabia, Trump had accused Iran of fuelling "the fires of sectarian conflict and terror" in the region and called for its global isolation.

Abbas said their main conflict with Israel "is with the occupation and settlements". An opportunity to seize. "They're losers, and we'll have more of them".

On Monday, he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, and he is due to depart for Rome later Tuesday. The ties of the Jewish people to this holy land are ancient and eternal. If negotiations were to resume, they needed to be about the core issues, not talks about talks, he said.

It only took a few seconds after US President Donald Trump landed in Israel for it to become apparent that this was not going to be an "ordinary" visit by a head of state.

Trump called Jerusalem a "sacred city", but did not follow through on his campaign pledge to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the USA embassy to the city, which Trump called "the eternal capital of the Jewish people" during the campaign.

Mr Trump again vowed that he was "personally committed" to helping the two sides reach a deal to end the decades-old conflict.

Other reports by iNewsToday