EV­ERY­THING I CAN’

Trump vows to try bro­ker peace deal be­tween Is­raelis, Pales­tini­ans

New Straits Times - - World -

BETH­LE­HEM

UNITED States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump vowed yes­ter­day to do “ev­ery­thing I can” to achieve a peace agree­ment be­tween the Is­raelis and Pales­tini­ans as he met Mah­moud Ab­bas in the oc­cu­pied West Bank.

“I am com­mit­ted to try­ing to achieve a peace agree­ment be­tween the Is­raelis and the Pales­tini­ans, and I in­tend to do ev­ery­thing I can to help them achieve that goal,” Trump said in com­ments af­ter hold­ing talks with the Pales­tinian pres­i­dent here.

He ar­rived at the pres­i­den­tial palace in the West Bank city ear­lier yes­ter­day, lo­cated only about a 20-minute drive from Jerusalem, but across Is­rael’s con­tro­ver­sial sep­a­ra­tion wall.

On Mon­day, Trump held talks with Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu in Jerusalem.

Ab­bas greeted Trump out­side the pres­i­den­tial palace and the two men walked along a red car­pet onto its grounds.

Later, as Trump wrapped up the visit in a speech in Jerusalem, he called on Is­raelis and Pales­tini­ans to make com­pro­mises that could lead to peace.

“Mak­ing peace, how­ever, will not be easy,” Trump told an au­di­ence of Is­raeli politi­cians and other dig­ni­taries at the Is­rael Mu­seum.

“We all know that. Both sides will face tough de­ci­sions. But with de­ter­mi­na­tion, com­pro­mise and the be­lief that peace is pos­si­ble, Is­raelis and Pales­tini­ans can make a deal.”

Trump’s visit to Is­rael and the Pales­tinian ter­ri­to­ries is part of his first trip abroad as pres­i­dent, and fol­lows an ini­tial leg in Saudi Ara­bia, where he urged Is­lamic lead­ers to con­front ex­trem­ism.

Pales­tinian of­fi­cials say they are ready to re­sume ne­go­ti­a­tions with Is­rael that col­lapsed in 2014, but the road ahead re­mains chal­leng­ing.

Ab­bas is an un­pop­u­lar leader, ac­cord­ing to polls, and the Pales­tinian politi­cal land­scape is split be­tween his Fatah party and Ha­mas, the Is­lamist move­ment that is in con­trol in the Gaza Strip and op­poses ne­go­ti­a­tions with Is­rael.

Gaza is a coastal ter­ri­tory 60km west of the West Bank that is un­der a land and sea block­ade im­posed by Is­rael and Egypt. Agen­cies

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