In Trump Abbas-Meet, Hope Springs Eternal as Peace Prospects Run Dry

Abbas Praises Trump in First Meeting, But Next Steps Uncertain

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was upbeat in his meeting with President Trump at the White House today, praising the American president and echoing his optimism about the “very good chance” that a peace deal could be brokered soon.

President Trump is the latest in a long line of US presidents who have tackled the Israel-Palestine peace process early in their first term, and while most quickly lost interest, Trump vowed to get the peace deal done with “whatever is necessary.”

The process of actually getting such a deal done would at this point a huge and complicated effort, with Israel’s settlement expansions carving out ever growing portions of occupied Palestinian territory and its far-right government strongly resistant to any idea of a Palestinian state.

And perhaps the most problematic aspect of the optimism from Trump, as is the case with a lot of his other major promises is that he is offering no specifics on how he’s going to pull that off, beyond his own assessment of his abilities as a negotiator.

The Israeli press is mostly focusing on how Abbas is trying to cozy up to Trump through flattery, as part of an effort to try to get on the American president’s side on the issue. It still remains to be seen if this works, and more importantly, if Trump has any specific plans for how to proceed.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.