President Donald Trump reportedly had a heated exchange with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during Trump's nine-day foreign trip. In a private meeting, Trump allegedly accused Abbas of encouraging Palestinian terror attacks in Israel.
On May 23, Trump met with Abbas and the Palestinian delegation in Bethlehem, West Bank. Israeli media has reported that Trump allegedly scolded the Palestinian leader and accused him of acting in bad faith.
"You tricked me in D.C.!" Trump allegedly told Abbas, according to Newsweek. "You talked there about your commitment to peace, but the Israelis showed me your involvement in incitement [against Israel]."
On May 22, Trump met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had repeatedly accused Abbas and his Fatah faction of enabling young Palestinians to commit a flurry of small-scale terrorist attacks in Israel between 2015 through 2016. It is not clear if Netanyahu presented Trump with intelligence that would implicate the Fatah faction in the attacks.
Trump has made brokering peace between Israel and Palestine among the top priorities of his administration's foreign policy. On May 3, Abbas met with Trump at the White House, where the two leaders announced an initiative to renew talks between Israel and Palestine.
"Over the course of my lifetime, I've always heard that perhaps the toughest deal to make is the deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians," Trump said during a joint press conference with Abbas, according to NPR. "Let's see if we can prove them wrong."
The 82-year-old Abbas was elected in 2005. During his 12 years in office, the Palestinian president has held unsuccessful peace negotiations with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008 and with Netanyahu in 2014, The New Yorker reports.
It is not clear if Trump's alleged scorning of Abbas impacted the Palestinian government's commitment to resuming peace talks with Israel.
Following their private meeting in Bethlehem, the two leaders struck an optimistic tone during a press conference. While the reported verbal fireworks of their private meeting were not repeated in public, Trump did chide the Palestinian Martyrs Fund, which provides financial compensation to the families of Palestinians who attack Israeli citizens, according to USA Today.
"Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded," Trump said.
Abbas asserted during his remarks that Palestinian unrest towards Israel was not fueled by anti-Semitism but the Netanyahu government's encroachment on the West Bank.
"Our fundamental problem is with the occupation and settlements, and failure of Israel to recognize the state of Palestine in the same way we recognize it, which undermines the realization of the two-state solution," Abbas said. "The problem is not between us and Judaism. It’s between us and occupation."