On Tuesday, US president Donald Trump and president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas asserted their commitment to achieving peace between Palestinians and Israelis, during a press conference in Bethlehem, according to international media.
Trump said that he believes that Abbas and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu are ready to work on achieving peace. He also said that he is looking forward to working with those two leaders to achieve sustainable peace and to work with president Abbas on several important issues, such as confronting terrorism and using available capabilities to develop the Palestinian economy.
The US president added that his meeting with Muslim leaders in the Riyadh summit was a historical event, and he called upon those leaders to join counterterrorism efforts, while also praising Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud’s role in this regard.
“There is no way to achieve peace in an environment of violence,” Trump said. Although he stressed exerting efforts to achieve peace, the US president did not mention the two-state solution as a result for these efforts.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas declared his readiness to cooperate with the American administration to make a historical deal for peace in the region and counter terrorism. Also, he said that freedom for the Palestinians and their independence is the key of peace and stability in the region and in the world.
Abbas stressed the Palestinian position regarding a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders and a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. He said that the Palestinians’ problem is with the occupation and Israel’s position of not recognising the Palestinian state.
It is not a religious conflict, and respecting the Abrahimic religions is an original part of Palestinian beliefs, Abbas stated. He also expressed his wishes for Trump to be the US president who succeeds in brokering peace between Palestinians and Israelis.
Regarding the Palestinian captives in Israeli prisons, Abbas described their demands as humanistic and fair, and he called upon Israel to respond to these demands.
Tuesday marked the 37th day of a mass hunger strike inside Israeli jails. Palestinian news agency Ma’an estimates that more than 1,300 Palestinians are currently on strike behind bars in Israeli prisons, while Israeli outlets have placed the number in the high hundreds.
Captives protest their worsening conditions in Israeli jails, which include isolation, no visits from relatives, and self-payment of medical expenses.
Dozens of captives’ families demonstrated on Tuesday in the Nativity arena during Trump’s visit to the Church of Nativity. Demonstrators called upon the US president to put pressure on the Israelis to respond to captives’ demands. In solidarity with captives, Palestinians in Jerusalem announced a strike on Tuesday.
Trumps visit to Bethlehem comes after his meeting with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday following the US-Arab-Islamic summit in Riyadh.
Palestinian analyst Taha Al-Khateeb told Daily News Egypt that the issue is not one or two states, but rather it is how to make the Palestinian state a reality on the ground, and this is what Trump did in his visit to the Palestinian territories.
He believes that the most important result of Trump’s visit is recognising the occupation, and he [Trump] refused to accompany any Israeli official to the Nativity Church.
Also, Al-Khateeb expressed his surprise about the fact that the Palestinian issue was largely ignored during the Riyadh summit.