President Donald Trump will play peacemaker at the White House
- on Wednesday, meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas as part of an effort to end the long-running Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
After hosting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in February, the self-styled deal-maker-in-chief will host Abbas for the first time since coming to office.
“The President’s ultimate goal is to establish peace in the region,” said White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
That long-shot effort ─ which has eluded US presidents since the 1970s ─ got off to a rocky start early in Trump’s administration.
Trump renounced US support for a Palestinian state and vowed to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, breaking two tenets of US policy held for decades.
Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday said Trump is still “giving serious consideration into moving the American embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.” That move would likely spark Palestinian fury and is privately seen by many in the Israel and US security establishments as needlessly inflammatory.
At the same time, Trump has urged Israel to hold back on settlement building in the West Bank, a longstanding concern of Palestinians and much of the world