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Trump's special envoy meets with Abbas in Ramallah

March 14, 2017 10:26 P.M. (Updated: March 14, 2017 10:26 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- US President Donald Trump’s special envoy met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday at his office in Ramallah city in the central occupied West Bank as part of a fact-finding mission aimed at relaunching the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. 

According to a statement released by the US Consulate in Jerusalem, Jason Greenblatt, Trump's special representative for international negotiations, held a meeting with Abbas during which the two agreed to work together in order to “advance genuine and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” 

Abbas had told Greenblatt during the meeting that “under President Trump's leadership a historic peace deal is possible, and that it will enhance security throughout the region,” and said he was looking forward to discussing the issues during his visit to the White House. 

Greenblatt, meanwhile, emphasized Trump’s commitment to facilitating direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, while Abbas committed to “preventing inflammatory rhetoric and incitement.”

Abbas and Greenblatt had also discussed the US and Palestinian Authority (PA)’s commitment to “joint determination to combat violence and terrorism.” Abbas also pledged to “heighten his outreach efforts to the Israeli public.” 

The meeting also focused on plans to grow the Palestinian economy, while Abbas reiterated his belief that a two-state solution is the most viable solution to the decades-long conflict. 

On Monday evening, Greenblatt also held a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying on Twitter that the two “discussed the regional situation, how progress towards peace with Palestinians can be made, and (Israeli) settlements.” 

Greenblatt said that Netanyahu highlighted his commitment to “broadening prosperity for Palestinians and sees it as a means of bolstering the prospects for peace. ” 

According to Greenblatt, he had stressed to Netanyahu that “enabling the growth of the Palestinian economy" and "improving the quality of life for Palestinians,” was important to President Trump.

On Friday, spokesperson for the Palestinian presidency Nabil Abu Rudeineh reported that Trump had said he would invite Abbas to the White House “very soon” in order to discuss strategies of “relaunching the peace process,” while stressing his commitment to supporting “any process that could lead to real peace between Palestinians and Israelis” during the first phone call between the two leaders. 

US President Donald Trump responded ambivalently to a question last month regarding his administration’s position on the two-state solution during a press conference preceding a controversial meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after a US official said that the country was not necessarily committed to the policy as the sole way out of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” Trump said, eliciting laughter from Netanyahu. “I can live with either one.”

While members of the international community have rested the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the discontinuation of illegal Israeli settlements and the establishment of a two-state solution, a growing number of Palestinian activists have criticized the two-state solution as unsustainable and unlikely to bring durable peace given the existing political context, proposing instead a binational state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians.     
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