Trump throws his hat into Mideast peace process ring


President Donald Trump committed the United States Wednesday to helping Israel and the Palestinians reach peace, telling visiting Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas: "We will get it done".

President Trump shakes hand with Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday.

"Mr. President, it's about time for Israel to end its occupation of our people and of our land", Abbas said, referring to the Palestinian territories in the West Bank under Israeli control. Trump said he has always heard that a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians was the "toughest deal" to close.

Trump said that he would work to facilitate a peace agreement, but assured both Israelis and Palestinians they would have to strive together to form a lasting agreement.

However, Trump did not mention his support for a two-state solution, a longstanding USA stance on the issue.

Later, during a working lunch with the US and Palestinian delegations, Mr. Trump said the solution to peace is "something that I think is, frankly, maybe not as hard as people have thought over the years".

Trump renounced support for a Palestinian state and vowed to move the USA embassy to Jerusalem, breaking two tenets of American policy held for decades.

Trump said the Palestinians must speak with a unified voice - referencing the split between the Palestinian Authority, which controls the West Bank, and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

Abbas did not take questions from the press during his visit.

He noted that no "agreement can be imposed by the United States or any other nation" but said he would "love to be a mediator, arbitrator, or facilitator" for the peace process.

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As Abbas and Trump met, several thousand Palestinians attended a solidarity rally for the prisoners, with speakers calling for a new campaign of civil disobedience against Israeli rule.

"I believe that we are capable under your leadership and under your courageous stewardship and your wisdom as well as your great negotiating ability".

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"It's about time for Israel to stop occupying our land", he said.

He will be hoping Trump can pressure Israel into concessions he believes are necessary to salvage a two-state solution to one of the world's longest-running conflicts.

Abbas said Palestinians are not cultivating a hatred of Israel as he rejected Trump's position, which is also held by Netanyahu. "But we will be working diligently".

The status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Trump also urged Abbas' support to sign a peace treaty between the Palestinians and Israel.

But Abbas also laid out goals for a "just and comprehensive" agreement: a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

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