Vowing to achieve where successive U.S. governments have failed, President Trump hosted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House on Wednesday and expressed broad if unsubstantiated confidence that he might be able to broker “the toughest deal” — peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
“I’ve always heard that perhaps the toughest deal to make is the deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians; let’s prove them wrong,” Trump said, Abbas at his side. “I will do whatever is necessary to facilitate the agreement — to mediate, to arbitrate, anything ...”
Later, as the two leaders sat down to a working lunch in the White House Cabinet Room, Trump added that a resolution to what is generally considered one of the most intractable conflicts in the world was “something that I think is, frankly, maybe not as difficult as people have thought over the years.”
Abbas responded with optimism and praise for Trump’s dealmaking ability, even though his list of Palestinian requirements for peace was unchanged from the one that has been aired during decades of earlier failed negotiations. Those include a viable, independent Palestinian state next to Israel, with its capital in East Jerusalem — the so-called two-state solution, which Trump has not endorsed.