Trump Vows Peace Push After Meeting Abbas - But Scant Details

17 May 2017, 11:23 | Isaac Mcdaniel

U.S. President Donald Trump, on Wednesday, told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he wants to reach a Middle East peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians.

He added: "We will get this done".

Like previous U.S. leaders, Trump faces numerous obstacles in the long-shot bid.

Trump welcomed Abbas to the White House and recommitted himself to peace in the region where the top priority for him right now is defeat of the Islamic State.

The long-shot effort to bring peace - which has eluded USA presidents since the 1970s - got off to a rocky start early in Trump's administration. He said there could not be lasting peace unless Palestinian leaders spoke in a unified voice against "violence and hate". "There's such hatred. But hopefully there won't be such hatred for very long". All children, he said, "must be taught to value and respect human life and condemn those who target the innocent".

It was the first time that Abbas had visited the White House in 24 years.

He did encourage Abbas to do more to discourage Palestinian incitement against Israelis. "I'm looking at two-state and one-state and I like the one that both parties like", Trump said in response to a question about the two-state policy, indicating that he did not have any real preference. The deal would not just be about a peaceful, two-state solution, but also about solving the issue of refugees and prisoners "according to global law".

Abbas said that it was time for Israel "to end the occupation of our people" and that Trump's presidency represented a historic opportunity for peace between the two peoples.

"I'm committed to working with Israel and the Palestinians to reach an agreement", he said.

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Abbas also called on Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territories.

Abbas, 82, who was among the negotiators on hand for the historic signing of the Oslo Accords on the White House lawn in 1993, indicated he did feel optimistic that almost a quarter-century later Trump might be the president who finally builds on that initial agreement to forge a final resolution to the conflict.

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.

"He has not managed to get serious concessions from Israel".

The Obama administration spent its last months in office attempting to preserve conditions for an eventual resumption.

".I know President Abbas has spoken out against ISIS and other terrorist groups".

Ushering in peace between the Israelis and Palestinians isn't the only thing Trump thinks is easier than people have said in the past. "There is no alternative".

Israel has rejected a return to the 1967 borders, the territorial lines drawn before the Six Day War.

Those parameters will likely not sit well with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who visited the White House back in February.



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