Trump to visit occupied Palestinian territories 'soon', says Abbas

Trump to visit occupied Palestinian territories 'soon', says Abbas
2 min read
09 May, 2017
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has hinted that Donald Trump could stop in Bethlehem during the US leader's visit to Israel later this month.
Abbas is meeting German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Ramallah [AFP]

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has said Donald Trump is expected to visit the occupied territories "soon", adding he would be willing to meet Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to help kick-start talks.

Trump has already announced a visit to Israel this May during his first overseas tour as president.

Abbas on Tuesday appeared to hint that a trip to the occupied West Bank might also be on Trump's agenda.

"We are looking forward to his visit soon to Bethlehem" Abbas said, with speculation Trump's tour will be on 23 May.

"We told him that we were ready to collaborate with him and meet the Israeli PM (Binyamin Netanyahu) under his auspices to build peace," Abbas told reporters.

Abbas met Trump in Washington last week and is now holding talks with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Trump announced last week that his first foreign trip as president will include stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican - the spiritual centres of Islam, Judaism and Catholicism.

Trump's team have not ruled out a visit to the West Bank, but said that it was likely to be contingent on security and Abbas taking concrete steps toward peace.

The president surprised many by meeting Abbas last week and promising that he will "get it done", regarding a long awaited peace deal between the Palestinians and Israelis.

However, Trump backed away from a US commitment to the two-state solution during another meeting with Israel's leader, which would see an indepenent Palestinian state come into existance.

Trump earlier said he would support a single state if it led to peace between the two parties, which delighted Israeli right-wingers looking to annex the occupied West Bank territories.

Trump has also vowed to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, which would also strengthen Israel's claims for the Palestinian territories.

Meanwhile, Israel has expanded his illegal settlement expansion into the West Bank, which is another unsummountable obstacle to peace.

Agencies contributed to this story.