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Palestinian Leader Invited to White House in Trump Call

The move suggested Trump may be returning to more traditional U.S. policy and will not give Israel free rein to expand its control over the West Bank and sideline the Palestinians
By The News · 10 of March 2017 13:42:15
In this Feb. 23, 2017 file photo, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas listens to his Lebanese counterpart Michel Aoun address a speech, at the presidential palace, in Baabda east Beirut, Lebanon, In this Feb. 23, 2017 file photo, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas listens to his Lebanese counterpart Michel Aoun address a speech, at the presidential palace, in Baabda east Beirut, Lebanon. Abbas will speak by telephone with U.S President Donald Trump in the first contact between the two leaders since Trump took office. Trump's planned phone call to Abbas was revealed in a White House notice Friday, March 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File), photo: AP/Hussein Malla

RAMALLAH – A spokesman for the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the U.S President has invited him to visit the White House to discuss resuming peace talks in a telephone call Friday, the first contact between the two leaders since Trump took office in January.

Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh said President Trump invited the Palestinian leader to visit “soon.” He said “Abbas is convinced that President Trump is serious about achieving peace and is looking for a deal to achieve the long-awaited peace.”

The last round of U.S.-mediated peace talks collapsed in 2014.

Friday’s call was the first between Trump and Abbas since Trump took office.

In his efforts to secure Palestinian statehood, Abbas has spent many hours on the phone and in meetings with U.S. presidents and secretaries of state over the past decade, but has been unsuccessful when reaching out to Trump — until now.

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 U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, which the Palestinians seek as the capital of their future state, and has adopted a more lenient approach to Israel building settlements in territory claimed by the Palestinians.

However, Trump’s administration last week warned Israel against annexing parts of the occupied West Bank, saying it would trigger an “immediate crisis” between the two allies.

The move suggested Trump may be returning to more traditional U.S. policy and will not give Israel free rein to expand its control over the West Bank and sideline the Palestinians, as Israeli nationalists had hoped.