According to colleagues in his Fatah party, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ meeting with President Donald Trump was tense. Trump stopped in Bethlehem last Tuesday for a meeting with the Palestinian leader, a day after he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Abbas told members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee that he felt “uncomfortable” during the meeting, said Palestinian sources.
The President angrily accused Abbas of causing incitement against Israel, according to a U.S. official present at the meeting cited by Israeli media reports. The Israeli government has regularly blamed Abbas and other Palestinian leaders for incitement as well.
“You tricked me in D.C.!” said Trump to Abbas, according to Israel’s Channel 2 broadcaster. “You talked there about your commitment to peace, but the Israelis showed me your involvement in incitement [against Israel].” The Palestinian delegation was shocked at the President’s outburst.
However, this is not the first time Trump has raised his voice at another world leader. In February, he reportedly shouted at Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over the phone, discussing a refugee settlement deal reached with former President Barack Obama.
“When you hear about the tough phone calls I’m having, don’t worry about it,” said Trump in a prayer breakfast the day after his call with Turnbull. “We’re taken advantage of by every nation in the world virtually. It’s not going to happen anymore.”
During their Bethlehem meeting, Trump also reportedly showed Abbas video clips of him “inciting against Israel,” which the Palestinian leader said were taken out of context.
“You have the CIA, ask them to examine the videos and to find out how they were taken or fabricated for the purpose of incriminating Palestinians,” Abbas told Trump.
An anonymous Palestinian official told reporters that the Israeli press lied about the Palestinians causing incitement, trying to slander Abbas.
However, according to the official, “overall the meeting went very well,” despite Trump bringing up the incitement issue.
Trump has stated that he feels that with “determination, compromise, and the belief that peace is possible,” the Israelis and the Palestinians could make a compromise.
In a joint press conference in the West Bank City with President Abbas, Trump also took a positive stance on Palestine’s role in a possible peace agreement with Israel.
“I truly believe if Israel and the Palestinians can make peace, it will begin a process for peace in the Middle East. Abbas assures me he is ready to work toward that goal in good faith, and Netanyahu has promised the same. I look forward to working with these leaders toward a lasting peace,” Trump stated during the press conference.
Abbas also expressed his willingness to work for peace during the conference but made sure to address the source of conflict. Palestine’s “fundamental problem” is not with “Judaism;” rather, it is “with the occupation and settlements and the failure of Israel to recognize the state of Palestine as we recognize it.”
Strong disagreement continues to remain between the two Middle Eastern countries.
In a May 3 meeting in Washington, Trump told Abbas to end incitement against Israel, as well as end the Palestinian policy of paying the families of Palestinians who have been convicted of terrorism under Israeli law. Abbas denied the accusations, saying, “We are raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace.”
However, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu stated that Abbas’ comments were not true. Palestinian Authorities name “schools after mass murderers of Israelis,” according to Netanyahu.
Netanya, as well as other Israeli government officials, ultimately blame Abbas and his Fatah faction for inciting violence among Palestinian youth. Since September 2015, young Palestinians have used knives, guns and vehicles to launch violent and deadly attacks in Jerusalem and Israel.
Conversely, the Palestinian government believes that Israel’s military occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank incited the violence.
Since mid-2016, fortunately, the violence has slowed down.
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