How Important Is Trump’s Meeting With Abbas?

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will soon meet with President Trump at the White House for the first time. After strongly proclaiming support for Israel throughout his presidential campaign, Trump now has an opportunity to reach out to Benjamin Netanyahu’s counterpart. Here’s what top Middle East hands say about the critical summit.

Aaron David Miller, CNN.COM:“What Trump’s Meeting With Abbas Means For The Middle East”

Miller, vice president at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars who served as a Middle East negotiator in Democratic and Republican administrations, lays out what he thinks Abbas and Trump hope to gain from their meeting. Miller views Abbas as “neither desperate for a deal nor determined to make one,” intent instead to reiterate the basic vision for a two-state solution and a resolution on borders, Jerusalem, and refugees. Though skeptical of Trump’s dedication and knowledge base to make a peace deal, Miller expects the president to use the visit to gauge whether Abbas is serious about reaching a deal.

The Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times:“What Abbas And Trump Can Do For Each Other”

The LA Times’ Editorial Board points to Trump’s meeting with Abbas as the latest in a series of policy shifts his administration has made that brings him closer to the political mainstream, changes that put him in a better position to possibly negotiate a peace deal.

The board views this confab as an opportunity for Abbas to stave off pressure from the Palestinian street and Hamas and assert his seriousness in reaching a deal.

Caroline Glick, Jersusalem Post:“Our World: The Agenda For The Trump-Abbas Meeting”

Caroline Glick, a former foreign policy advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and the deputy managing editor at the Jerusalem Post, strongly stakes out her position that the Palestinian Authority has “not lived up to their side of the bargain — on anything.” Pinning sole blame on the Palestinian government and people for the strife in the region, Glick judges it as imperative for Abbas to end support for terrorists and anti-Semitic elements during and following his White House visit. Otherwise, Trump must abandon any support for Palestinian statehood and recognition of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

Hanan Ashrawi, CNN.com“Trump Has To Make A Big Call On Middle East Peace Deal”

Ashrawi, a leading Palestinian political figure, frames this meeting as an opportunity for Trump to embrace a different path that acknowledges Israeli abuses and faithfully listens to Palestinian grievances. If the President really wants a deal, he cannot follow the strategy of past administrations, which teamed up with Israel against the PA — Trump must be a true mediator between the two sides.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.
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How Important Is Trump’s Meeting With Abbas?

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