World, Americas

Trump: ’Very good’ chance for Israel-Palestine peace

'We will get it done,' Trump says while welcoming Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to White House

03.05.2017
Trump: ’Very good’ chance for Israel-Palestine peace Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) meets U.S President Donald Trump (L) at the White house in Washington, United States on May 3, 2017. ( Palestinian Presidency - Handout - Anadolu Agency )

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON

The prospects for peace between Israel and Palestine are "very good", President Donald Trump said Wednesday. 

“We will get it done," Trump said as he welcomed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House for the first time since he took office in January. 

Trump reiterated his stance that peace cannot be imposed by the U.S. or "any other nation", stressing the parties themselves "must work together to reach an agreement that allows both peoples to live, worship, and thrive, and prosper in peace."

"I will do whatever is necessary to facilitate the agreement," he said. 

Following Trump, Abbas said in remarks translated from Arabic that the Palestinian leadership's "strategic option" is to pursue a two-state solution for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. 

Shortly after assuming office, Trump signaled he is not opposed to abandoning the long-sought proposal to end the decades-old conflict, saying he instead prefers an undefined "ultimate deal". 

The move was an unprecedented departure from an American policy  shared by Democrat and Republican parties that has hinged on the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.  

But Abbas maintained that the two-state solution, if achieved, would have dramatic effects on the region, including the normalization of ties between Israel and Arab and Islamic countries.

“We believe that we are capable and able to bring about success to our efforts,” Abbas said. 

And he again demanded Israel end its occupation "of our people and of our land". 

“We are aspiring and want to achieve our freedom, our dignity, and our right to self-determination,” said Abbas. 

“Now Mr. President with you we have hope,” he added in the only English-language remarks he made. 

Abbas' meeting with Trump comes as the American president weighs the possible relocation of the U.S.'s Israel embassy from its current location in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He pledged during last year's campaign to make the controversial move. 

Successive presidents have declined to do so despite having congressional authorization under the Jerusalem Embassy Act, warning that the move could endanger U.S. security and potentially upend peace talks between Israel and Palestine. 

Trump has until June 1 to sign a six-month deferral that every president since 1995 has used twice a year to perpetually forestall the move. 

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