Trump throws his hat into Mideast peace process ring

Andrew Cummings
May 12, 2017

Trump began his remarks with a reminder that Abbas had been in attendance when the PLO leader Yasser Arafat and the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed their 1994 agreement in the White House Rose Garden.

Palestinians are watching closely, including Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who called on Trump to break with past approaches to Middle East peace. Needless to say, I think Horovitz has completely misread the situation.

Trump said he was committed to working with Israel and the Palestinians to reach an agreement but that any agreement could not be imposed by the United States.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dennis Ross said Israelis and Palestinians were as pessimistic today about a deal as they had been in the past 30 years.

"Mr. President, you have the determination to be successful", Abbas said.

US President Donald Trump has said that he will "do whatever is necessary" to reach a peaceful settlement between Israel and the Palestinians pledging that "we will get it done". We believe you're willing.

Abbas pointed toward a likely partnership while crediting Trump's "great negotiating ability". "We will be working so hard to get it done".

U.S. President Donald Trump (R) welcomes visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, May 3, 2017.

"It's about time for Israel to end its occupation of our people and of our land", Abbas said.

But while Trump spoke broadly about his desires for a peace deal and some of the barriers to a deal, Abbas drilled down on the specific complaints and demands of Palestinians. "After 50 years, we are the only remaining people in the world who still live under occupation".

He quickly reasserted the goal of the creation of a Palestinian state as vital to any rejuvenated peace process. Still, he said, "hopefully something terrific can come out" of future talks between the Palestinians and Israelis.

He did encourage Abbas to do more to discourage Palestinian incitement against Israelis.

Abbas said that Palestinians wish to see a two-state solution based on 1967 borders with a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem. "I'd like to see you hold back on settlements for a little bit", Trump told Netanyahu, even though the Israeli leader said he doesn't see settlements as the "core of the problem".

Abbas, for his part, continued the Palestinian Authority's long-held position that a long-term peace agreement requires a separate Palestinian state, bounded by territorial borders as they were in 1967 and with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Trump was set to have dinner with religious leaders at the White House Wednesday evening, ahead of an expected signing of an executive order on religious liberty.

Over the course of my lifetime, I've always heard that perhaps the toughest deal to make is the deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

According to the global law, according to the terms of worldwide law, the global legitimacy, and the various relevant references and terms of reference in that regard, and based on what is stipulated in the previous treaties and agreements, that no unilateral steps must be taken to get ahead of the agreement and discussing those issues.

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