Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas hopeful after first talks with Donald Trump

Claudine Rigal
Мая 14, 2017

"I'm always ready for genuine peace".

President Donald Trump appeared to rebuke Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at least three times in their joint statement on Wednesday. "We believe you're willing", he added to Abbas, "And if you both are willing, we are going to make a deal".

U.S. President Donald Trump (R) welcomes Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, after his arrival for a meeting at the White House.

The Palestinians and Israeli must work together to reach an agreement, Trump said, adding, "I would love to be a mediator or an arbitrator or a facilitator, and we will get this done".

Trump, while sounding hopeful about a peace deal, warned that "any agreement can not be imposed by the United States..."

But Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely immediately dismissed Trump's announcement of a new peace process.

A number of Trump administration officials have strong ties to Israeli leaders, and the White House has appeared to break from longstanding USA support of a two-state solution.

Mr Abbas implored Mr Trump to understand the Palestinian perspective.

"So we're going to start a process". They include the contours of a potential Palestinian state, Jerusalem's status and the question of Palestinian refugees.

"The Palestinian inmates are victims of Israel's control of the West Bank".

Israel rejects the 1967 lines as a possible border, saying it would impose grave security risks.

The move came as about 1,000 Palestinian prisoners are fasting in a protest launched on April 17 by jailed terrorist Marwan Barghouti demanding improved conditions including family visits, better medical care and phone access.

"There's such hatred", Trump said Wednesday.

USA special envoy Jason Greenblatt, who recently toured the Middle East, is expected to update Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) about the Abbas-Trump meeting on Thursday in Brussels, Israel's Channel 2 reported.

"I want the one that both parties want", Trump said.

While Trump spoke broadly about his desire for a peace deal and some of the barriers to a deal, Abbas spoke about the specific complaints and demands of Palestinians. Israel considers such payments a reward for terrorists, but stopping them seems untenable to Abbas, especially at a time of broad Palestinian support for a mass hunger strike of prisoners held by Israel.

"Mr. President, it's about time for Israel to end its occupation of our people and our lands", Abbas said, listing demands that the current Israeli government has baulked at. "It's clear to anyone who is intelligent that he isn't interested in peace", Hotovely said.

"We are coming into a new opportunity, a new horizon that would enable us to bring about peace", he said at the news briefing.

While the president did say that peace would require Palestinian leaders to speak against incitement to violence and hate, for his part Abbas ticked-off the list of preconditions for peace that have not resonated in the last two decades.

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