Abbas tells US envoy historic peace deal possible under Trump

Abbas tells US envoy historic peace deal possible under Trump
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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with an envoy from President Trump on Tuesday and told him that a peace deal is possible under the new president.

The meeting between Abbas and Jason Greenblatt, Trump's Special Representative for International Negotiations, took place in Ramallah.

"President Abbas told Mr. Greenblatt that he believes that under President Trump's leadership a historic peace deal is possible, and that it will enhance security throughout the region," according to a statement from the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem.

The meeting between the envoy and Palestinian leader comes amid worries in the Middle East that Trump will side with Israel and is not committed to Palestinian statehood.

Trump in February suggested he would be open to either a one- or two-state solution, breaking with longstanding U.S. policy.

“I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like ... I can live with either one,” he said in a joint press conference last month with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

U.S. administrations have long pushed for two states, Israel and a Palestinian one.

Since those comments, Trump had his first phone call with Abbas on March 10th and invited him to visit the White House.

During their meeting in Ramallah today, Greenblatt emphasized the U.S. commitment to “working with Israelis and Palestinians to achieve a lasting peace through direct negotiations.”

Palestinians argue that Israeli settlements in the West Bank hinder the possibility of a deal. But Israelis say Palestinian violence is the real threat.

Abbas assured Greenblatt of his commitment "to prevent inflammatory rhetoric and incitement," according to the consulate general's statement.

The two also affirmed the U.S. and Palestinian Authority’s joint goal of fighting violence and terrorism.

Greenblatt met with Netanyahu in Jerusalem yesterday evening.

“The Prime Minister and Mr. Greenblatt continued discussions relating to settlement construction in the hope of working out an approach that is consistent with the goal of advancing peace and security,” according to a statement released by the U.S. embassy.

The statement did not mention scaling back of settlement construction, though. Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, who awaits approval from the Senate, is known to support settlements.