Published: Tue, March 14, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning

Donald Trump invites Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to White House

Donald Trump invites Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to White House

For the first time since taking office, President Donald Trump spoke with the leader of the Palestinian Authority, inviting him to a White House meeting and reaffirming USA commitment to the peace process.

Trump is unpopular among Palestinians because he appeared to break from his predecessor and adopt friendlier positions toward the Israeli government; ambivalence has marked his position toward a two-state solution to the conflict, he's considering to move the USA embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and has adopted a more lenient approach to Israel building settlements.

US officials in Jerusalem tell ABC News that Greenblatt will explore ways to restart the peace process.

Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are considered illegal under global law and have been major stumbling blocks in negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.

Trump also has stopped mentioning his campaign promise to move the USA embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that Palestinians have said would provoke a potentially violent reaction.

Greenblatt will head to the West Bank city of Ramallah Tuesday to visit Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

During the call, Trump proffered an invitation to Abbas for a White House meeting.

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President Donald Trump pushed forward with Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts by sending his longtime lawyer turned diplomatic envoy to the Middle East to weigh whether there's a real prospect to resurrect negotiations.

The initiative to stop United States aid to the Palestinians is not new, but its proponents believe that with Trump as president its chances of succeeding are greater.

Trump had previously said he did not necessarily see settlements as an obstacle to peace.

Palestine, IsraelThe ministry said in an emailed press statement that "the Israeli government continues to implement it's settlement schemes aiming at more Palestinian land grab, unraveling preliminary measures and bulldozing operations to bailiff thousands of new settlement units in occupied Jerusalem".

"I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like ..."

While Abbas was one of the first world leaders former President Barack Obama called, Trump has been cautious with contacts with the Arab world. Israeli and US officials are now discussing what the parameters are on settlements.

Netanyahu promised the creation of a new settlement to house evicted residents of Amona in exchange for a peaceful evacuation. "I can live with either one", Trump had said, causing consternation across the Arab world and in many European capitals. The White House is trying to ascertain whether the Saudis can be drawn into this process, the newspaper said.

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