World

Trump Wants To Negotiate Israel-Palestine Peace Deal

| by Ray Brown

President Donald Trump met with Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas and expressed confidence that a peace deal could be worked out between Israel and the Palestinians.

Trump offered to serve as a "mediator, arbiter or facilitator" to help finalize a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, but said that the U.S. or any other nation "cannot impose" a deal, reports NBC News.

"We want to establish peace between Israel and the Palestinians and we will achieve that ... We will be an intermediary between the parties to reach this agreement," Trump said, according to the Middle East Monitor.

Abbas said he is optimistic a peace deal can be realized, but pointed out that Israel would have to make compromises on refugees, political prisoners and borders.

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"It's time for Israel to end its occupation of our people and of our land," Abbas said.

"I believe that we are capable under your leadership and under your courageous stewardship and your wisdom as well as your great negotiating ability ... I believe we can be partners -- true partners to you -- to bring about a historic peace treaty," Abbas added, according to CNN. "Now, Mr. President, with you we have hope."

Trump has previously mildly criticized Israel for its expansion into Palestinian territory.

"I would like you to hold back on settlements for a little bit," Trump told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in February, reports NBC News.

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But Netanyahu said the Palestinians teach their children to "hate" Israel.

"They continue to call for Israel's destruction inside their schools, inside their mosques, inside their textbooks. You have to read it to believe it," Netanyahu said.

Trump's administration is widely perceived as staunchly pro-Israel and the acknowledgment of the Palestinians was welcomed by Ghassan Khatib, a professor of political science at Birzeit University in the West Bank.

"For us the most important thing in this meeting is that it will allow a Palestinian perspective," he told NBC News. "The current American president is very familiar with the Israeli side and is constantly in touch with the Israeli point of view, but is a stranger to the Palestinian narrative."

Members of the Trump administration have signaled they might move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which would indicate the administration formally recognizes Jerusalem as the capital and reverse 70 years of international protocol as a means to remain neutral and achieve peace in the region, according to CNN.

Sources: CNN, NBC News (2), Middle East Monitor/ Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

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