Every American president in recent memory has taken a shot at resolving the Israel-Palestine dispute and President Donald Trump has also started his attempt, saying it may not be as tough as it is made out to be.
As has been his style, Trump, in remarks delivered alongside visiting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas multiple times over the day at the White House on Wednesday, revealed no details of how he planned to accomplish that or timelines.
“It’s something that I think is, frankly, maybe not as difficult as people have thought over the years,” he said. “We need two willing parties. We believe Israel is willing. We believe you're willing. And if you are willing, we are going to make a deal.”
“We want to create peace between Israel and the Palestinians. We will get it done. We will be working so hard to get it done,” he said, adding, “I think there is a very good chance and I think we will.”
It will not be as easy as that, pundits and experts averred. And Abbas’s remarks made that abundantly clear soon enough — in which he spoke of a two-state solution, with the Palestinian state along boundaries that existed before the 1967 war.
He also mentioned the vexatious issues of the return of refugees and prisoners.
Most of this will not fly with Israelis. And during a visit of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump had indicated he was willing to drop long-standing US support for a two-state solution, and settle for a single-state solution.
If that’s what both parties wanted, he added. The Palestinians don’t, as Abbas let him know in unambiguous terms on Tuesday, while expressing confidence in his “courageous stewardship…as well as your great negotiating ability”.
In response, Trump said he was willing to accept the challenge. “We’ll start a process which hopefully will lead to peace. Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve always heard that perhaps the toughest deal to make is the deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Let's see if we can prove them wrong.”