WASHINGTON (JTA) – U.S. President Donald Trump is seeking “a conflict-ending settlement” for Israelis and Palestinians, his spokesman said ahead of Trump’s meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The statement Wednesday by Sean Spicer, who was confirming the May 3 visit, is an indication that Trump is determined to extract a deal from the sides.
“They will use the visit to reaffirm the commitment of both the United States and the Palestinian leadership to pursuing and ultimately concluding a conflict-ending settlement between the Palestinians and Israel,” Spicer said in his opening remarks at the daily news briefing.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he wants a peace deal, but Cabinet officials to Netanyahu’s right favour unilateral actions, including annexing portions of the West Bank, that would stop well short of a final status deal.
Trump, who hosted Netanyahu in February at the White House, retreated from an explicit U.S. endorsement of the two-state solution – U.S. policy for 15 years – but also surprised Netanyahu by asking him publicly to slow settlement expansion for a period.
One of Trump’s top foreign policy advisers, Jason Greenblatt, has spent time in the region in an intensive canvassing of the principals ahead of reviving peace talks.