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Trump on Israeli-Palestinian peace: 'We will get it done'

17 May 2017

Noting Trump's push for Middle East peace - the president meets Wednesday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and is reported to be headed to Israel later this month - McMaster called on those present to back the initiative.

Abbas said Palestinians are not cultivating a hatred of Israel as he rejected Trump's position, which is also held by Netanyahu.

The meeting Wednesday is a sign that "Trump s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is more conventional than anyone expected", said Ilan Goldenberg of the Center for New American Security.

"Let's see if we can find a solution". "I applaud them", he said, "they get unbelievably well together".

Mr Abbas, speaking through a translator, told Mr Trump that under "your courageous stewardship and your wisdom, as well as your great negotiations ability", the Palestinians would be partners seeking a "historic peace treaty". In his joint press conference with Netanyahu back in February, Trump, when asked whether he favored a one- or two-state solution, said he is "happy with the one that both parties like", a departure from over a decade of previous US policy.

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.

Israelis and Palestinians have been at odds since Israel was established in 1948.

The two leaders met in the White House in Washington to discuss the "advancement of Middle East peace and the strengthening of United States-Palestinian relations".

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Trump, they added, will reiterate his belief that Israeli settlement construction on land claimed by the Palestinians does not advance peace prospects. He said "it's about time" for Israel to stop occupying Palestinian lands and to recognize a Palestinian state. There's such hatred, but hopefully, there won't be such hatred for very long.

During lunch with Abbas, Trump raised concerns about Palestinian payments to terrorists and their family members. Abbas said, however, that there could be no peace with the establishment of a secure Palestinian state.

The Palestinian embassy in Doha organised yesterday a stand of solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, as the prisoners continue the battle of freedom and dignity (the battle of empty stomachs) by continuing their hunger strike.

The meeting with Mr Abbas, the Western-backed head of the Palestinian Authority, was another test of whether Mr Trump, in office a little more than 100 days, is serious about pursuing what he has called the "ultimate deal" of Israeli-Palestinian peace that eluded his predecessors.

Abbas told Trump that his goal is a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, and said the president provides a new opportunity for a peace deal.

The US president who has not given a carte blanche for settlement building, and who has not - or at least not yet - moved the embassy to Jerusalem, again disappointed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; he could not have given Abbas an easier time.

One of Trump's top advisers, Jason Greenblatt, held wide-ranging talks with both Israelis and Palestinians during a visit in March.

Trump on Israeli-Palestinian peace: 'We will get it done'