Trump to meet Palestinian leader

Trump to meet Palestinian leader
© Getty Images

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will travel to Washington to meet with President Trump on May 3, the White House announced Wednesday. 

The two men spoke on the phone in early March, when Trump invited Abbas to join him at the White House to discuss the quest for peace in the Middle East. 

“They will use the visit to reaffirm the commitment of both the United States and Palestinian leadership to pursuing and ultimately concluding the conflict ending settlement between the Palestinians and Israel,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Wednesday. 

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President Trump has regularly made his support for Israel clear throughout his campaign and in the early weeks of his presidency. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined him in Washington for a February meeting, one of the president's first with a foreign leader. 

During a joint press conference, Trump cast aside decades of American foreign policy by suggesting he could back a one-state solution to the struggle in the region, a comment that likely concerned Palestinians, who argue that they should have their own, independent country. 

But Trump also asked Netanyahu to “hold back” on settlement construction in the West Bank as a show of good faith. Palestinians oppose that settlement-building because they believe that much of the West Bank should be given to them as part of a two-state solution. 

The president has said that his son-in-law and top aide, Jared Kushner, will be tasked with helping to lead the peace process. 

“If you can't produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can,” Trump said at a January dinner the night before his inauguration, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. 

Kushner was raised in an Orthodox Jewish household and his wife, Trump’s daughter Ivanka, converted to Judaism to raise their children as Jews.