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‘Abbas has to pin hopes on Trump’s words’

The outcomes of the meeting between US President Donald Trump and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was the topic that dominated headlines in the region’s newspapers

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The meeting between Trump and Abbas did not paint an optimistic picture for the Palestinian issue, indicating that the US administration will not take steps towards an acceptable solution, said the UAE’s Al Khaleej. “Trump’s statements in the press conference following the meeting did not touch on any new serious US approach for a settlement; neither did it indicate a detour on the US’s policies towards the Palestinian issue. Trump also did not even hint at the two-state solution, which previous US administrations constantly insisted on.”

Did Trump really mean it when he told Abbas that there is a “very good chance” of a Middle East peace deal, asked the Saudi Gazette. “This is the president who had announced that he would move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to [occupied] Jerusalem. Trump has started off differently. He does not even appear to have taken up the establishment view embraced by Barack Obama’s predecessors, which is to stick to the Israeli script that they cannot talk to ‘terrorists’ who refuse to accept the very existence of Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears confident that he has Trump’s support. But there have been other occasions when a politician elected on one plank has exploited that victory to pursue entirely different objectives. Trump is already established as a political maverick from whom the unexpected can be expected. Palestinians may yet discover that they have an even-handed dealmaker to work with.”

There will be no peace without serious negotiations, that is what the Palestinians and Arabs have continued to emphasise, said Qatar’s Al Watan. “Regardless of how much that point is reemphasised, it is not only met with neglect by Israel, but also contempt, arrogance and indignation, and this would not be the case if the US puts its foot down before the Occupation. Now, according to Abbas, the Trump administration has shown itself to be serious with regard to initiating negotiations. If the administration truly is serious, then it is time for less talk and more action. The US needs to be an impartial peace-broker between the two parties involved in this conflict. If the US wants to side with anyone, it should side with the party that is willing to enter these negotiations with an open heart, and not the party that is belittling the talks.”

What Abbas is counting on remains a mystery, especially that Trump remained tied lip on a plan of action for solving this decades-old problem, assuming he has one, wrote the Jordan Times.

“But things being as they are, the Palestinian leader has no other choice but to pin hopes on Trumps’ rhetoric on the Palestinian conflict. The danger, and cruelty, lies in raising expectations for an outcome that does not seem achievable among a downtrodden population that reached the end of its tether. The US president did say that he ‘would love to be a mediator or an arbitrator or a facilitator’ for that purpose, without specifying what that would entail. And knowing how volatile he is, the fear is that it could involve anything that crosses his mind on the spur of the moment or under the influence of the wily Israeli prime minister ...”