President Donald Trump confidently predicted that a lasting Middle East peace agreement was within grasp Wednesday, as he hosted Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas at the White House.
"Our stated choice is to bring about peace with a two-state solution, with the Palestinian capital being East Jerusalem and living in peace and stability with Israel based on the borders of 1967", he said. U.S. President Donald Trump wants to break that pattern - but if the daylight between his meetings with Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas indicates anything, it's going to be an uphill battle. "It is a great honor to have the president with us", Trump said of Abbas.
These elements "have created an opportunity that coincides with our new and unconventional American president", he said.
Abbas, who governs in the West Bank while Hamas militants rule Gaza, was under pressure at home to avoid making major concessions to Trump, especially with an ongoing hunger strike by hundreds of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.
UN Security Council Resolution 2334 calls on Israel to "immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem" al-Quds.
In February, Trump had told Netanyahu that the road to peace included Israelis' willingness to "show some flexibility" and the Palestinians would have to acknowledge and reduce some of the "hate" for Israel.
Trump renounced support for a Palestinian state and vowed to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, breaking two tenets of American policy held for decades.
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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.
Trump's top foreign policy advisers were on hand for Abbas' visit.
"Let's see if we can find a solution".
When the two leaders delivered a joint statement in front of the cameras, Trump recalled how Abbas signed the Oslo Accords on the White House lawn 24 years ago, "an agreement which laid the foundations for peace". But he also said that a deal "cannot be imposed by the United States or any other nation".
"We will get it done, we will be working so hard to get it done", he said.
Abbas needs Trump's support to legitimize his power, and Ross encouraged Trump to press Abbas to make concessions, such as ceasing sending money to jailed Palestinians who had killed Israelis.
Reaffirming his commitment to a two-state solution, he called on Israel to recognise Palestinian statehood just as Palestinians recognise the state of Israel.
He also gave early warning that both sides will have to negotiate - and give in on certain points. He said that economic activity, the rule of law and condemnation of violence were all critical in order to make progress towards peace.