Trump, meeting with Palestinian leader, sounds bullish on Israeli-Palestinian peace deal

President Trump and PA President Mahmoud Abbas talk peace
(Image credit: Fadi Arouri/AFP/Getty Images)

Well, crazier things have happened. On a visit to Bethlehem, in the West Bank, on Tuesday, President Trump told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that he is "committed to trying to achieve a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians," adding: "And I intend to do everything I can to help them achieve that goal. I look forward to working with these leaders for lasting peace." Such an agreement, long sought by American presidents, could "begin a process of peace all throughout the Middle East," he said. Abbas welcomed Trump's "noble and possible mission," and said he is eager to "keep the door open to dialogue with our Israeli neighbors," while reiterating the Palestinian demands, including a capital in East Jerusalem.

Meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, Trump was similarly upbeat. He said he saw a new willingness among Sunni Muslim leaders gathered in Saudi Arabia to view Iran as more of a threat than Israel. "There's a great feeling for peace throughout the world," Trump said. "I've seen such a different feeling toward Israel from countries that, as you know, were not feeling so well about Israel." Netanyahu welcomed Trump's push for peace. "I also look forward to working closely with you to advance peace in our region, because you have noted so succinctly that common dangers are turning former enemies into partners," he said. "It won't be simple. But for the first time in many years — and, Mr. President, for the first time in my lifetime — I see a real hope for change."

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.