In a first face-to-face meeting, U.S. President Donald Trump will sit down with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas tomorrow. The Palestinian leader would be hoping that the billionaire businessman's unpredictable approach might inject life into long-stalled peace efforts.
Abbas will travel to Washington hoping Trump can pressure Israel into concessions he believes are necessary to salvage a two-state solution to one of the world's long-standing conflicts.
Over the recent years, Palestinian officials have seen their cause overshadowed by global concerns such as the Syrian war and Daesh, and want Trump's White House to bring it back to the forefront.
Presidential Spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudainah yesterday said, the upcoming meeting is of "extreme importance" as it will confirm the need for a "just and comprehensive peace [of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict] based on the two-state solution and the Arab Peace Initiative," Wafa, the news agency of the Palestinian National Authority reported.
"There is a real opportunity to make peace, and the international community should seize this opportunity, because the region is in a state of boiling, and the occupation cannot continue in any way," Abu Rudainah said. Earlier in February, hosting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time, Trump did not insist on a two-state solution as part of a peace accord and renounced Washington's years-long quest to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He said he would support a single state if it led to peace, delighting Israeli right-wingers who want to see their country annex most of the occupied West Bank. Trump also vowed to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem, a prospect that alarmed Palestinians, but which has been put on the back burner for now. At the same time, he urged Israel to hold back on settlement building in the West Bank, a longstanding cause of concern for Palestinians and much of the world. Trump has spoken of reviving the idea of a regional peace initiative, pulling in countries such as Egypt and Jordan, the only two Arab nations to have signed peace treaties with Israel.
Both Abbas and Trump have recently met Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Jordanian King Abdullah II. After meeting Abbas on Saturday, el-Sissi urged Washington to help restart negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Abbas' visit also comes amid speculation about when Trump will visit Israel.
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