Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 71st United Nations General Assembly in Manhattan, New York, US September 22, 2016.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is still committed to a two-state solution and is prepared to work with the new US administration, the PA president’s office said on Wednesday.
Abbas “affirmed [his] continuing commitment to the two-state option, international law and legitimacy, which should ensure the end of the Israeli occupation and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, living in peace and security next to the State of Israel on the June 1967 borders,” the statement read, adding that he is ready “to deal positively with the Donald Trump administration to make peace.”
Abbas’s statement came in response to the joint press conference held by President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday at the White House, where the US leader said he is not married to a particular solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“I’m looking at two states and one state, and I like the one that both parties like,” Trump remarked, saying at another point in the press conference that “the United States will encourage peace, and really a great peace deal.”
The meeting between Trump and Netanyahu on Wednesday was their first since the US president assumed office on January 20.
Abbas also warned that “the insistence of the Israeli government on destroying the two-state option through the continuation of settlements and imposing facts on the ground will lead to more extremism and instability.”
In what appeared to be an overture to the Palestinians, Trump said to Netanyahu: “I’d like you to hold off on settlements for a little bit.”
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Abbas agreed with Trump and asked Israel to abide by the US president’s request.
The PA president called “on the Israeli prime minister to respond affirmatively to the request of President Donald Trump and the international community to halt all settlement activities, including in east Jerusalem.”
The Palestinian leadership considers settlement construction the primary obstacle to peace, whereas the Israeli government holds that Palestinian incitement and a refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state are the main impediments to peace.
Ahmed Majdalani, a PLO Executive Committee member, told The Jerusalem Post that Trump’s remarks “constitute a clear retreat from the positions of previous American administrations, which were clear in their support for the twostate solution and their opposition to settlements.”
“We have no problem with a one-state solution with Jews, Muslims and Christians living in peace, but we believe that the only real solution to this conflict is the two-state solution,” Majdalani added.
The Palestinian leadership hopes that there will soon be an opportunity to open more lines of communication with the Trump administration and to set up a meeting between Trump and Abbas.
On Tuesday, Abbas met with CIA Director Mike Pompeo in Ramallah, the PA president’s first meeting with a senior US administration official.
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