Donald Trump vows to broker Israeli-Palestinian peace, offers no new policies

Miranda GreerMay 07, 2017

President Trump lauded Mahmoud Abbas for fighting terrorism during the Palestinian Authority president's visit to the White House today, noting "there's such hatred" among Abbas' people "but hopefully there won't be such hatred for very long".

Speaking after the US President finished his statement, Abbas thanked Trump for his invitation and looked forward with working with the White House.

Brushing aside the complexities of a decades-old conflict that has beguiled successive U.S. leaders, Trump told Abbas that together with the Israelis they could bag "the toughest deal to make".

"And I will do whatever is necessary to facilitate the agreement, to mediate, to arbitrate, anything they'd like to do", he said.

Trump has made clear he "stands with Israel", Pence said, and "as we speak, is giving serious consideration into moving the American embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem". The visit from Abbas follows Trumps talks more than two months ago with Israels Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In a February news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump broke with longtime USA 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.

"We hope this will be a new beginning", Abbas told Palestinians at a meeting in Washington on the eve of the talks.

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.

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

The meeting comes amid the Trump administration's efforts to lay the groundwork for brokering a lasting peace between Palestine and Israel.

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

"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", he said.

Efforts to overhaul health care, the tax system and government spending have faltered, despite Trump's Republican party controlling not only the White House but both houses of Congress.

But while Trump's meeting with Netanyahu signaled an era of warmer US-Israel relations than had existed under President Barack Obama, Trump also slightly moderated his stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the unequivocal support he promised Israel during the campaign.

And despite Trump's cadre of Israel hardliners, he struck a cordial tone with Abbas in their Wednesday press conference, and Abbas reciprocated.

At the same time, Trump has urged Israel to hold back on settlement building in the West Bank, a longstanding concern of Palestinians and much of the world.

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