President Trump’s visit to Palestine was focused on the ongoing peace efforts between Israel and Palestine, while overshadowed by the recent attack in Manchester, UK. Sayeh Yousefi discusses.
On route to the Palestinian Presidential Palace, the streets were lined with both US and Palestinian flags, with posters bearing both respective leaders’ faces, and captioned “the City of Peace Welcomes the Man of Peace”.
President Trump begun the meeting with an acknowledgment and expression of condolences to Manchester and all those affected by the very recent terrorist attacks that left 22 dead, and over 50 injured.
Trump referred to the perpetrators of the attacks as “evil losers”, a term that has garnered some ridicule and criticism, but has been praised by some leaders like Netayanhu. Netayunha even noted the POTUS’s comments later, both commending his comment and saying that “It’s our job to make sure that they continue to lose. We will defeat them”.
Trump then covertly relayed his expression of sympathy and condolences with the victims of the attacks to his agenda for this trip abroad. He emphasized the importance of union and cooperation in ensuring this “wicked ideology” is “completely obliterated”.
Cooperation amidst both states (Palestine and Israel) to work in resolving the long-fought conflict and tensions amidst the two states, was a reiterated priority through Trump’s statements.
“President Abbas assures me he is ready to work towards that goal in good faith, and Prime Minister Netanyahu has promised the same. I look forward to working with these leaders toward a lasting peace. I also look forward to working with President Abbas on other important matters, such as unlocking the potential of the Palestinian economy, which is having a very rough time, and building on our very positive counterterrorism efforts.”
“I also firmly believe that if Israel and the Palestinians can make peace, it will begin a process of peace all throughout the Middle East, and that would be an amazing accomplishment.”
President Abbas started the talks on a similar note, speaking first to condemn the terrorist attacks, before moving into a show of appreciation for President Trump and his efforts thus far in bringing “hope and optimism” to the Middle East.
Abbas explicitly restated his position of accepting the two-state solution, based on the borders of 1967, and then spoke of resolving conflicts regarding occupation and disregard for international law.
His remarks ended with a dramatic change to speaking English, saying he hoped Trump “will go in history, the President Donald Trump who was the American president who achieved peace between the Palestinians and Israelis.”
Following this visit and meeting with the Palestinian president, Trump participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at Yad Vashem and gave a speech at the Israel Museum, before taking off for Rome to continue his first official trip abroad.