Trump is certain he'll bring peace to the Middle East: "Maybe not as difficult as people have thought"

President Trump met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House on Wednesday

By Matthew Rozsa
Published May 3, 2017 7:17PM (EDT)
 (Getty/Molly Riley-Pool)
(Getty/Molly Riley-Pool)

Just over a month after Vice President Mike Pence said that President Donald Trump was considering moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the president has met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House and vowed to put an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

As Trump told reporters during an appearance with Abbas on Wednesday, "I’m committed to working with Israel and the Palestinians to reach an agreement, but any agreement cannot be imposed by the United States or any other nation. The Palestinians and Israelis must work together to reach an agreement that allows both peoples to live, worship and thrive and prosper in peace. And I will do whatever is necessary to facilitate the agreement, to mediate, to arbitrate anything they’d like to do, but I would be a mediator or an arbitrator or a facilitator, and we will get this done."

At one point on Wednesday, Trump was seated next to Pence and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and said, "Let's see if we can find the solution. It's something that I think is frankly, maybe not as difficult as people have thought."

For his part, Abbas offered a distinctly pragmatic point-of-view on Wednesday, telling reporters that "Our strategic option, our strategic choice, is to bring about peace based on the vision of the two-state, a Palestinian state, with its capital in East Jerusalem, that lives in peace and stability with the state of Israel, based on the borders of 1967."

While Trump and Abbas both made it seem like their meeting had been a success, Trump will still struggle to win over Palestinians given the perceived pro-Israel bias of his choice for ambassador to that country, David Freidman.

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Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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