Abbas adviser says Trump visit could reopen path to talks

Peter Castro
May 24, 2017

Oded Revivi (OH-dead Re-VEE-veeis) is the chief foreign envoy of the Yesha settlers' council.

Hossam Zomlot, an aide to Abbas, told AFP news agency that "if President Trump wants to mediate and leads us to a historic agreement, a major agreement, we are ready to be his partners". "But I have a feeling we're going to get there eventually".

Donald Trump is betting that Arab nations hold the key to securing peace between Israel and the Palestinians, a paradoxical premise founded on his belief that shared concern over Iran will bring longtime rivals to the bargaining table. "That would be an unbelievable accomplishment", he added, expressing hope that America can help both parties work out their longstanding differences.

President Trump began his speech sending his condolences to the people of Manchester following the horrific terror attack last night.

The President said that "Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded", in an undisguised criticism of the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas. "That would be an wonderful accomplishment". Mr Abbas welcomed Mr Trump's "noble and possible mission".

"For the first time in my lifetime I see a real hope for change", Netanyahu said Monday with Trump at his side. "The conflict is not between religions", Abbas said. "We have a problem with the occupation".

Tuesday marks the 37th day of a mass hunger strike inside Israeli jails. Unlike past United States presidents who have drawn clear lines for both sides to follow in order to achieve a deal, Trump has offered little - if not inconsistent - public guidance for the Israeli and Palestinian leaders. As he spoke, the death toll in the attack at an Ariana Grande concert had climbed to 22.

"So many young, beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers in life", Trump said. He says this "wicked ideology must be obliterated".

Mr Trump and Mr Abbas.

Trump was greeted Tuesday morning by Abbas at the president's headquarters in Bethlehem and their meeting is now underway.

Trump heads to Israel in possible first arrival from Saudi
Ambassador David Friedman said Trump's goal for now was simply "to begin a discussion that would hopefully lead to peace". Israel occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967 in moves never recognised by the worldwide community.

It later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the global community and claims the entire city as its capital.

One point of contention is the fate of occupied East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in 1967.

After a short meeting, Abbas and Trump held a press conference at the Presidential headquarters in Bethlehem.

Emphasising the need for a durable peace deal between Israel an Palestine the stability of the region, Trump promised all help to renew the long-stalled talks.

Trump's brief journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem offered a visual reminder of the complexities of the conflict.

The gestures included enlarging of a Palestinian industrial zone, examining the possibility of extending Israel railways to the West Bank town of Jenin and easing movement of Palestinians at various checkpoints. I'm glad there is personal chemistry between the two leaders and convinced the president loves Israel, and that will surely help us in the future.

"As the President of America, he feels like it's one of the things that he has to try to do", a senior White House official said. The trip ends on Saturday after visits to the Vatican, Brussels and Sicily.

Meanwhile, breaking longstanding tradition, Trump became the first sitting American president to ever visit the Old City of Jerusalem.

Mr Trump approached alone and placed his hand on the stone.

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