Netanyahu Reaffirms Israel's Commitment to Pursue "a Genuine Peace"

Cameron Gross
May 17, 2017

Abbas at the time said Netanyahu moved the meeting, effectively canceling it, while Netanyahu said the Palestinian demands for preconditions to the talks derailed the possible summit.

In an interview with Palestinian television Thursday, the Palestinian president said that Trump had a coherent political agenda, and that he was enthusiastic about it. Most Israelis want all of Jerusalem as their capital and reject a full return to 1967 borderlines as a threat to their security.

White House sources confirmed that President Trump also urged Abbas in private to cease payments to families of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons.

Abbas demanded that Israel recognize a Palestinian state "just as the Palestinian people recognize the state of Israel", but he pointedly did not define Israel as a Jewish state - something Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been calling for since a landmark 2009 speech in which he conditionally endorsed Palestinian statehood.

The president did not elaborate on any new policies or timetables to revive the long-stalled negotiations, and stopped short of explicitly endorsing a two-state solution.

Trump did directly implore the Palestinian leadership to end what Israel and the United States say is anti-Israel rhetoric.

"Without this we will not accept any solution", said Abbas, who touted an Arab League peace plan that offers Israel diplomatic relations with the Muslim world for a Palestinian state.

"Today, Abbas put himself in a confrontation with the Palestinian people", Barhoum said.

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But he also said outsiders can not impose terms on the parties - which some see as a coded warning that there are limits to the US willingness to invest political capital.

'We believe Israel is willing, we believe you're willing, and if you are both willing, we're going to make a deal.' Peace talks have repeatedly failed to resolve the decades-old conflict. That has sparked speculation about a meeting among the three.

It would be his second known visit following a brief tour of Eilat in 1989 when he expressed an interest in building a casino in the southern resort town, according to Israeli media.

Trump and Abbas appeared friendly but businesslike as they stood at side-by-side lecterns. But that was a far cry from the way Trump and Netanyahu interacted in February.

Meanwhile Wednesday, a senior official in Abbas' West Bank-based government said it would stop paying for electricity in the power-starved Gaza Strip and "dry up" the flow of funds to the territory's Hamas rulers.

Despite the cordial appearance at Trump's joint White House press conference with Abbas, there may be turbulence beneath the surface.

Trump has tasked his adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and lawyer Jason Greenblatt with tackling the issue. Mr Trump is reportedly visiting Israel at the end of the month.

Other reports by BadHub

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