A senior Palestinian official said Monday that he was encouraged by early signs that the Trump administration remained strongly committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Jibril Rajoub said that Trump made clear to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a recent phone call that he was his “strategic partner” in making a “real and serious” peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Trump campaigned on promises to depart from decades of American policy and signaled a much closer relationship with Israel than former President Barack Obama. He made no mention of Palestinian statehood and hinted toward much greater tolerance for Israeli West Bank settlement construction.
But since taking office, Trump appears to have backpedaled. Rajoub said Trump’s “America First” slogan also meant he would be less prone to supporting Israel by default.
Rajoub, who is popular within the Fatah party, which rules the Palestinian Authority, is seen by many as the man who will replace Abbas, now in his 80s.
Despite having declared at last month’s press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he was not insisting on a two-state solution, Trump told Abbas in their first telephone call earlier this month that he was committed to advancing the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, according to Abbas.
During the phone call, Trump invited Abbas to visit the White House.
“The president emphasized his personal belief that peace is possible and that the time has come to make a deal,” the White House said at the time. “The president noted that such a deal would not only give Israelis and Palestinians the peace and security they deserve, but that it would reverberate positively throughout the region and the world.”