President Donald Trump met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday, calling for his country to work with Israel for a lasting peace deal.
“Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve always heard that perhaps the toughest deal to make is the deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” Trump said during a joint statement to reporters at the White House. “Let’s see if we can prove them wrong, okay?”
Trump said that he would work to facilitate a peace agreement, but assured both Israelis and Palestinians they would have to strive together to form a lasting agreement.
“I will do whatever is necessary to facilitate the agreement, to mediate, to arbitrate — anything they’d like to do, but I would love to be a mediator or an arbitrator or a facilitator and we will get this done,” he said.
Trump urged Palestinian leaders to condemn violence and terrorism against innocent people throughout the Middle East.
“There could be no lasting peace unless the Palestinian leaders speak in a unified voice against incitement to violence and hate,” he said. “There’s such hatred, but hopefully, there won’t be such hatred for very long.”
Trump called the White House visit with Abbas a symbol of progress for peace between the two countries. He held a working lunch with Abbas, together with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster and his advisors Gary Cohn, Reince Priebus, Jared Kushner and Dina Powell.
Speaking through a translator, Abbas thanked President Trump for the opportunity to visit the White House, urging him to support a two-state solution.
He praised Trump’s “great negotiating ability” and “courageous stewardship” as president as the peace process continued.
“We believe that we can be partners, true partners to you to bring about a historic peace treaty under your stewardship to bring about peace,” he said.