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News > World

Trump Invites Palestinian President to White House

  • Palestinian demonstrators throw shoes on a poster depicting U.S. President Donald Trump during a protest in the West Bank city of Hebron, Feb. 24, 2017.

    Palestinian demonstrators throw shoes on a poster depicting U.S. President Donald Trump during a protest in the West Bank city of Hebron, Feb. 24, 2017. | Photo: Rueters

Published 10 March 2017

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will soon meet with Trump in White House amid speculation over the future of the two-state solution. 

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Washington, according to a spokesman from Abbas, after the two leaders held their first phone conversation since Trump was sworn into office.

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While a date is not yet set, spokesperson Nabil Abu Rdainah said that “President Donald Trump invited President Abbas to visit the White House very soon to discuss ways to resume the political process, stressing his commitment to a peace process that will lead to a real peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.”

The conversation was reported to have only lasted minutes, where Abbas was believed to have spoken to Trump about peace and the illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands.

“President Abbas stressed the commitment to peace as a strategic choice to establish a Palestinian State alongside the state of Israel,” Abu Rdainah said, according to Palestine’s official news agency, WAFA.   

The invite points at the Trump administration's half-hearted attempt to improve relations with Palestine, especially in light of Trump's refusal to guarantee U.S. support for a two-state solution for peace, which has been a staple of U.S foreign policy for the last two decades.

The phone call to Abbas comes a month after Trump hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, where his vague statement on policy in the region has many concerned, particularly Palestinians who worry that the two-state solution could be under threat.  

“I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like ... I can live with either one,” Trump said during the press conference with Netanyahu, who he constantly referred to as “Bibi.”

Earlier in February, Israel controversially legalized around 4,000 settler homes built on privately-owned Palestinian land, which has been met with widespread international condemnation.

Apart from the U.S. – Israel’s staunch ally – most countries consider all Israeli settlements on Palestinian land illegal. More than half a million Israelis live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are also home to more than 2.6 million Palestinians. In all of historic Palestine, around 6 million Palestinians live under harsh Israeli control.

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In December, the Obama administration abstained from a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an end to illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land, angering Netanyahu while outraging and panicking conservative pro-Israel Republicans in the U.S.

Trump nominated David Friedman as his ambassador to Israel, who has defended illegal Israeli moves to build new housing settlements. Friedman rejects the two-state solution and has said that he would like the see the U.S. embassy moved from Tel Aviv, to Jerusalem, a move that would anger Palestine.

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