US President Donald Trump said Tuesday, after meeting Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem: “Peace can’t take root in an environment where violence is tolerated and rewarded.” He said he was gratified that Abbas joined the Riyadh summit’s commitment to confront terrorism and its hateful ideology. Trump sent “deepest condolences to those terribly injured and the families of the victims” in the terrorist attack in the Manchester Arena. “We are in absolute solidarity with the people of the UK,” he said, adding: “They were murdered by evil losers, because that’s what they are.”
“I am committed to achieving a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians,” he repeated. “Abbas assured me he is ready to work towards that goal in good faith and Netanyahu promised the same.”
Abbas reiterated that religion was not the cause of the dispute but Israel’s “occupation and settlements” and its refusal to recognize a Palestinian state. refusal to recognize a Palestinian state. He first condemned the Manchester attack, then appealed to president Trump to aid “the Palestinian prisoners” i.e. Palestinian terrorists sentenced by Israeli courts to prison for acts of murder.
The US president stops next at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Center, and will round off his trip to Israel with a keynote address at the Israel Museum this afternoon.