Terrorism won’t be eradicated until the Palestinian issue is settled, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday, expressing hope that recent meetings with US President Donald Trump’s team would lead to “peace” in the region.
“The world is completely convinced that neither could the events taking place around us and across the world nor the issue of terrorism can be handled without solving the Palestinian question,” he said at a press conference in Ramallah with Bosnian President Mladen Ivanić, according to a transcript from official Palestinian news outlet Wafa.
Palestinians and their supporters often link the Israeli Palestinian conflict as a catalyst for terror groups who sow hatred and destruction in the Middle East and the world. Israeli officials reject the linkage, pointing out that extremist terror preceded the creation of Israel and many ills plaguing the world have no relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Abbas met with Ivanic two days after sitting down with US special envoy Jason Greenblatt as the Trump administration made its first major foray into the moribund Israeli Palestinian peace process.
The Palestinian leader welcomed Greenblatt and a recent visit by CIA head Mike Pompeo.
He said an upcoming Arab League summit in Jordan would express support for a peace deal based on the Arab Peace Initiative, which offers Arab recognition of Israel in return for an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
But he said leaders at the March 29 meeting would also be looking to see how the US and other countries could help in advancing the prospects of an agreement.
“All the eyes of the Arab states will be turned toward the capitals of the world, especially Washington to see what can be done by this administration who said it wants to reach peace,” he said.
While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has never directly endorsed the Arab Peace initiative, he has hinted at hopes of bringing Riyadh, which offered the deal in 2002, to the table as part of a regional peace push that would look beyond just Israel’s ties to the Palestinians.
Despite saying in an interview published earlier in the day that his meeting with Greenblatt Tuesday did not include the US envoy offering any proposals, Abbas told the press conference the two had “exchanged many ideas.”
“Our hope is that those contacts result in the end in a peace that is led by the United States and the international community,” he said.
The PA President said he was still waiting for a date to meet with Trump, following an invitation to Washington made in a phone call by the US President on March 10.
According to official Palestinian outlet Wafa, Ivanic expressed his support for a two-state solution and toured part of Israel’s security barrier at the northern entrance to Bethlehem, saying the structure would not serve peace.
Ivanić visited Israel earlier his week and told told President Reuven Rivlin that his country’s bloody war 20 years ago made Bosnia and Herzegovina sensitive to Israel’s struggles with coexistence and extremism.