Abbas warns of painful steps against Palestinian rival Hamas

At White House, Abbas to ask Trump to back Arab peace plan

Israeli leaders on Thursday sought to deflate the peace-loving image of Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas presented to the world at the White House during his summit with President Donald Trump.

In response to Trump's statements, Abbas said that he believes the USA president's ability to negotiate means that the two leaders "can be partners", in bringing about a "historic peace treaty".

But in a February news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump broke with longtime US policy by raising the idea of a one-state peace agreement, withholding clear support for an independent Palestine.

Abbas said he believed their partnership could bring about a historic peace deal, emphasizing that he wants to see a Palestinian state with borders that existed prior to the region's war in 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The meeting comes amid the Trump administration's efforts to lay the groundwork for brokering a lasting peace between Palestine and Israel. The Palestinians and Israelis must work together to reach an agreement that allows both peoples to live, worship, and thrive and prosper in peace.

Abbas will also argue that Israeli economic gestures toward the Palestinians, recently encouraged by the USA, are no alternative to negotiations on a two-state solution.

Other actions include a Palestinian end to anti-Israel rhetoric and incitement of violence, said officials familiar with planning for the meeting.

President Trump deleted a tweet that he posted to his account in which he said it was "an honor" to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House.

The trip would be Mr Trump's first outside the United States as president.

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Palestinians are losing hope in getting an independent country and an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

According to former White House official Dennis Ross, the gap between Israelis and Palestinians "has probably never been greater".

In the past, Mr Abbas balked at the idea of such a summit, saying it would be pointless without general agreement on the framework of negotiations and a significant curb in settlement construction.

"He's going to continue to have discussions with Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Abbas moving forward, and he feels confident about where that relationship was and developments that were made today", he said.

Mr Abbas said he believes the Trump administration can play an important role as a mediator.

Trump's promise to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, strongly opposed by Palestinians, has been shifted to the back burner, and he has asked Netanyahu to put unspecified limits on settlement activity.

His West Bank-based autonomy government announced this week that it will stop paying for electricity Israel sends to power-starved Gaza - about $11 million a month.

"Let's see if we can prove them wrong, okay?" he said, concluding a joint statement with his Palestinian counterpart.

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