President Trump On Israel-Palestine Peace: 'We Will Get This Done'

The US president was expected to press Abbas to end payments to families of imprisoned Palestinians and to renounce what the US and Israel see as Palestinian "incitement" to violence, but which Palestinians see as resistance to Israel's brutal occupation.

"We want to create peace between Israel and the Palestinians", Trump said. Trump said he has always heard that a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians was the "toughest deal" to close.

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". "I'd like to see you hold back on settlements for a little bit", Trump told Netanyahu, even though the Israeli leader said he doesn't see settlements as the "core of the problem".

Trump has been an outspoken supporter of the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, considered by many analysts to be the most repressive against Palestinians in decades.

The 82-year-old Palestinian spoke in Arabic during the event but concluded in English by addressing Mr. Trump directly.

Abbas s term was meant to expire in 2009, but he has remained in office with no elections held.

Trump sparked worldwide criticism at the time when he appeared to back away from support for a two-state solution, saying he would leave it up to the parties themselves to decide.

Trump has put some of his closest advisors on the issue, including his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his long-time legal advisor and confidante, Jason Greenblatt, who is now the White House's chief Middle East negotiator.

Trump has made clear that the details do not matter much to him, and he has abandoned the longtime U.S. commitment to the so-called two-state solution. "And we also want for Israel to recognize the Palestinian state just as the Palestinian people recognize the state of Israel".

Palestinians are watching closely, including Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who called on Trump to break with past approaches to Middle East peace.

As a package, that formulation has been a nonstarter for Israel, which itself has shown no sign since Trump took office of backing off from any of its own longstanding fixed positions.

Abbas gave Mr. Trump credit for trying, saying "you have the determination to be successful" and that they could be "historic partners".

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

That could prose major domestic political headaches for Abbas, as he battles unpopularity and challenges from rival factions. Every US president has signed such a waiver twice a year after a law was passed in 1995 mandating the relocation of the embassy unless the White House certifies doing so would raise national security concerns. Palestinians are losing hope in getting an independent country and an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

"The gap between the parties has probably never been greater", said Ross.

  • Jon Douglas