Palestinians hope Trump's visit would constitute new breakthrough for peace

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-24 01:18:06|Editor: yan
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GAZA, May 23 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinians on Tuesday expressed hope that the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump to the region would constitute a new breakthrough for a peace process leading to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told a joint news briefing with Trump in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. "I hope it will be said in the history that President Trump was the U.S. president who made peace between Israel and the Palestinians."

"So from here, I extend my hand to you in order to be partners in these noble and possible endeavors," said Abbas, reiterating that he is willing to work with Trump "for peace making and reaching a historic peace deal between us and the Israelis and willing to work together as partners to fight terrorism."

Abbas stressed that achieving peace "will open the horizon for our economy to grow and to complete building up our national institutions based on the rule of law under tolerance, coexistence, the dissemination of a culture of peace and non-violence and incitement and build bridges instead of walls within our territory."

Meanwhile, President Trump said he is looking for working with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to reach "an everlasting peace. We want to work with sincere intentions to achieve lasting peace. I believe Israel and the Palestinians can make peace so that there can be peace in the Middle East as a whole."

"Abbas pledged to work with good intentions for peace and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised the same thing," said Trump, adding "the U.S. is to help the Palestinians and the Israelis to reach peace and bring hope to the region and the people."

Trump's convoy arrived earlier on Tuesday in the city of Bethlehem, where his presidential car and his convoy passed by the wall that Israel built into the depth of the West Bank in 2002. Along the road his convoy passed through, posters and pictures of Trump and Abbas were stuck on the walls.

Majdi Khalidi, a diplomatic adviser to Abbas, told Voice of Palestine Radio that "we have great hope that Trump's visit will push the peace process forward," adding that the Palestinian leadership "is working with every determination to give this opportunity everything possible for its success."

He pointing out that Trump's visit to the region comes to complete his idea and his presence on the ground to see and hear from everyone, adding "the opportunity after the visit will be ready to start the efforts of U.S., Europe, Russia, Arab states and all friends to help and push things forward."

"We hope that these efforts will lead to the end of the Israeli occupation and all final status issues that lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967," said Khalidi.

Asked about the possibility of a trilateral meeting in Washington between President Abbas and Israeli PM Netanyahu under the auspices of Trump, Abbas's adviser said "there are no preparations for this issue."

For his part, Mahmoud al-Aloul, deputy head of Abbas Fatah Party, said that President Abbas presented the Palestinian position in a clearly fixed way and will not be changed by any pressure here or there."

"We want to get rid of the Israeli occupation, end of settlement and the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital and the achievement of all final status issues known to everyone," Al-Aloul said in a radio statement.

Fatah official also said that President Abbas raised all these issues during Trump's meeting, stressing that "no one is allowed to fundamentally change the Palestinian positions."

Al-Aloul expressed his hope that Trump would be able to put things back on track through a peace process with international reference and a timetable.

Trump visited Israel for two days and met with Netanyahu and Israeli President Ruby Rivlin. Netanyahu expressed his aspiration to work with the U.S. president to promote peace in the Middle East, stressing that "it is the first time in my life that I see real hope for change."

The U.S. president arrived in Israel coming directly from Saudi Arabia, where he met with Gulf, Arab and Islamic states leaders during his first foreign tour since taking office in January.

Last peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians ended at the end of March 2014 after nine months of U.S.-sponsored talks without progress to resolve the decades-long conflict.