Published: Wed, May 17, 2017
National | By Mildred Castro

Palestinian president hopeful after talks with Trump

Palestinian president hopeful after talks with Trump

There's such hatred, " US President Donald Trump said as he met with Palestinian Authority President at the White House in Washington.

Mr Abbas said he and the United States president did not discuss details.

In a press conference after their meeting President Trump talked in broad terms about how the U.S. could help Israelis and Palestinians reach a peace agreement.

Despite bleak prospects for success, President Donald Trump promised on Wednesday "to do whatever is necessary" to forge an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

The two leaders discussed the value of actions that can help create a climate conducive to tangible progress toward peace.

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Abbas is unpopular and has led the Palestinian Authority for the past 12 years, long past the conclusion of his five-year term. "And we, Mr President, we are coming into a new opportunity, a new horizon that would enable us to bring about peace in that regard", he added.

According to a Palestinian news agency the Palestinian delegation saw great importance in the White House meeting, both in terms of stabilizing Abbas's status as president and as the representative of the Palestinian people vis-à-vis the global community.

Hamas on Monday released a policy document slightly softening its stance on Israel, calling for a sovereign Palestinian state along pre-1967 lines with the return of refugees to their homes in Israel.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is rooted in a dispute over land claimed by Jews and Palestinians, who seek self- determination.

Trump hosted Abbas, 82, to the White House on Wednesday as part of his efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

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The tweet did contain a grammatical error, with the word "of" being left out of the second sentence, but unlike past Trump tweets with grammatical errors, the tweet about President Abbas has not been corrected and reposted.

Brushing aside the complexities of a decades-old conflict that has bedevilled successive U.S. leaders, Trump told Abbas that together with the Israelis they could bag "the toughest deal to make".

But Abbas, who governs in the West Bank while Hamas militants rule Gaza, was likely to resist, especially with an ongoing hunger strike by hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

And he again demanded Israel end its occupation "of our people and of our land". But Trump's promise to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv is on the back burner, and he caught Netanyahu off-guard by asking him to put unspecified limits on settlement activity.

But according to former White House official Dennis Ross, Trump is in some ways helping Abbas by extending the White House invite. Complicating it all are the vehement Palestinian criticisms of Israeli settlement construction and Israeli complaints that Palestinians are inciting violence. USA and Israeli officials have declined to confirm the visit.

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