Trump brings in hope for solving Israeli-Palestine conflict

May 07, 2017, 12:22
Trump brings in hope for solving Israeli-Palestine conflict

After a joint Trump-Abbas press conference, the two leaders and their respective delegations sit down for a working lunch at the White House to discuss the "very hard situation between Israel and the Palestinians".

"Here at the White House, President Abbas signed a declaration of principles, very important, which laid the foundation for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians", Trump said.

For his part, Abbas echoed the hope for peace, stipulating peace "based on the vision of the two-state" solution, with Palestine's capital in East Jerusalem.

Mr Trump said he had always heard "this was the toughest deal to make, let's prove them wrong".

"We need two willing parties", Trump said.

And one of Trump's promises - moving the us embassy to Jerusalem - could thwart the peace process.

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Trump also praised the Palestinian security forces' coordination with Israel.

Every US president has signed such a waiver twice a year after a law was passed in 1995 mandating the relocation of the embassy unless the White House certifies doing so would raise national security concerns.

The US president greeted Abbas on the White House lawn before entering the Oval Office for talks, barely two months after receiving Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Trump's pro-Israel rhetoric during the 2016 election campaign raised concern among Palestinians about whether their leaders will get a fair hearing.

Trump urged Netanyahu to "hold back on settlements for a little bit", and while he said he'd "love" to see the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem, he offered no indication it would happen soon. He made the trip to Washington while politically unpopular back home, with polls suggesting most Palestinians want him to resign.

Abbas's term was meant to expire in 2009, but he has remained in office with no elections held.

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"This is a historic opportunity to pressure Israel.to find an equitable solution for the Palestinian people", he told CNN.

A group of three influential Republican senators have called on Trump to ask Abbas to stop funding Palestinian prisoners and their families. "And we, Mr President, we are coming into a new opportunity, a new horizon that would enable us to bring about peace in that regard", he added.

Trump on the other hand said President Abbas has been working for 24 years in a genuine and courageous way to achieve peace.

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

Though expectations are low for significant progress, plans are being firmed up for Trump to visit the right-wing Israeli leader in Jerusalem and possibly Abbas in the West Bank, targeted for May 22-23, according to people familiar with the matter.

That could prose major domestic political headaches for Abbas, as he battles unpopularity and challenges from rival factions.

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