Published: Wed, May 17, 2017
Local | By Adrian Hale

Trump removes tweet saying it was 'honor' to host Abbas

PA President Mahmoud Abbas' foreign affairs adviser Nabil Shaath on Thursday told Israel Radio the Trump administration's demand was intentionally created to sink any potential for renewed US-led Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Such a move would be a marked change from U.S. policy since Bill Clinton's tenure which, alongside the UN, EU, Arab League and others, has been to promote the idea of a peace deal involving a Palestinian state. "The Palestinians and Israelis must work together to reach an agreement that allows both peoples to live, worship and thrive and prosper in peace".

Trump insisted he was ready to try to reach the "toughest deal". Palestinian officials said after the meeting that Trump had not raised any specific proposals to restart negotiations.

In statements from the Roosevelt room at the White House flanked by both the American and the Palestinian flags, Trump gave a much-needed boost to Abbas ahead of a working lunch with the delegation.

The hunger strike is led by imprisoned uprising leader Marwan Barghouti, widely seen as the most popular choice to succeed the 82-year-old Abbas one day. USA and Israeli officials have declined to confirm the visit.

He emphasized that negotiations should include refugees, prisoners and borders. Israel rejects a full return to 1967 borders as a threat to its security. The new document also states the Islamist movement it is not seeking war with the Jewish people - only with Zionism that drives the occupation of Palestine.

Trump did not discuss any of those issues Wednesday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he "fervently shares" US President Donald Trump's commitment to advancing peace.

The Palestinian delegation to Washington expressed cautious optimism about Wednesday's meeting between the two leaders.

Earlier Tuesday, three Republican senators urged a halt to such payments in a letter that reflected widespread opinion on the Hill. But Trump didn't specifically mention that issue in his brief remarks after the Oval Office session. But while the majority of pundits dismissed the president's chances of success because he is not embracing the established mantra of Israeli-Palestinian peace making including the so-called "two-state solution", a minority of observers do not see that as a negative.

"We are aspiring and want to achieve our freedom, our dignity, and our right to self-determination", said Abbas. But Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely immediately dismissed Trump's announcement of a new peace process.

President Trump says he's eager to facilitate, mediate and arbitrate a deal, but ultimately the solution must come from the Israeli and Palestinian people. The objective of Palestinian statehood has been the position of successive United States administrations and the global community. "There's such hatred, but hopefully there won't be such hatred for very long". I have no idea if Trump was getting a simultaneous translation when Abbas was talking, but watch his body language.

President Trump has made his son-in-law Jared Kushner his Middle East convoy with this special task of bringing peace between Israel and Palestine.

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