JERUSALEM – Peace cannot be achieved when violence is rewarded, President Donald Trump said Tuesday at a joint press conference with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem.
During the press conference, the president conspicuously omitted any mention of the two-state solution or a Palestinian state.
“Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded,” Trump said. He was apparently taking a jab at Abbas, whose government pays salaries to terrorists and, when they are killed carrying out an attack, to their families.
“Peace is a choice we must make each day and the U.S. is here to make that dream possible for young Jewish, Muslim and Christian children,” Trump said. “This is what I’ve spent these last few days talking about during my trip overseas.”
Referring to Monday’s terrorist attack on a concert in the UK, Trump added, “Our society can have no tolerance for this continuation of bloodshed. We cannot stand a moment longer for the slaughter of innocent people. And in today’s attack it was mostly innocent children.”
“So many young beautiful innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers,” he said. “I wont call them monsters because they would like that term, they would think that’s a great name. I will call them from now on losers because that’s what they are.”
Abbas, for his part, reasserted his “acceptance of the two-state solution along the borders of 1967, the state of Palestine with its capital as east Jerusalem.”
He did not specifically mention other demands such as the so-called right of return for Palestinian refugees, but made a general reference to “resolving all the entire final status issues based on international law” and in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative.
“The problem is not between us and Judaism. It is between us and occupation,” Abbas said.
“As you saw on your visits to holy sites in occupied east Jerusalem and Bethlehem, the conflict is not between religions, for respecting religions and prophets is an integral part of our religion and faith.”
“Our fundamental problem is with the occupation, and settlements, and [the] failure of Israel to recognize the state of Palestine in the same way we recognize [Israel], which undermines the realization of the two-state solution,” he added.
Abbas reaffirmed the Palestinian commitment to fighting terror, and to promoting a “culture of peace, non-violence, no incitement and building bridges instead of walls.”
He said the “attainment of the Palestinians’ freedom and independence is the key to peace and stability in the world.”
He also spoke of the “plight” of Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails who have been on hunger strike for over a month. He appealed to Trump to fight on their behalf by calling on Israel to allow these convicted terrorists their “humane and just demands.”