11:48 GMT +314 December 2019
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    U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House in Washington D.C., U.S., May 3, 2017

    'No Substance': Trump’s Meeting With Abbas a 'Big Victory' for Netanyahu

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    On Tuesday, Donald Trump visited the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem and held a joint news conference with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

    Trump reaffirmed his commitment to broker the "ultimate deal" between Palestinians and Israel. He added that a process of peace throughout the region will begin if Israelis and Palestinians reach a peace agreement, not the other way round.

    Many believe that by saying so, Trump rejected the vision of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who believes that the Sunni Arab world will eventually convince the Palestinians to make the concessions necessary for a final-status peace agreement. But Miko Peled, activist and author of the book "The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine" told Radio Sputnik's Brian Becker that Trump's statements can instead be considered a "big victory" for Israel.

    "Media and all the spokespeople [in Israel] are absolutely thrilled that Donald Trump did not bring any kind of a peace deal, didn't have any kind of a plan, and basically really couldn't care less about what goes on here," Peled said during the Loud & Clear broadcast. 

    "But there was all the pomp and circumstance, and the parading, and the hugging and the kissing, and all the dramatics, but no substance whatsoever, which is exactly what Israel wanted, and that's exactly what the statement says. There is absolutely nothing that he is going to offer, and he is going to keep things exactly the way they are." 

    The visit comes amid fierce opposition among Palestinians, who denounce Trump's strong pro-Israel and anti-Muslim rhetoric. Peled referred to a mass general strike that recently took place across Palestine in solidarity with some 1,500 Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli prisons. 

    ​"The fact that Trump paid it absolutely no attention… is indicative of just how close he is to Netanyahu and how good the relations are between Israel and the US," he said.

    "It's absolutely inexcusable and unforgivable that nothing was said publicly, this was not mentioned." 

    Peled also referred to Abbas as "nothing but a puppet," saying that the only person that is situated to be a unifying leader for the Palestinian people is Marwan Barghouti, the political prisoner leading the hunger strike, and that releasing him from prison would be similar to releasing Nelson Mandela.

    "Releasing Marwan Barghouti is a complete game changer. There's not going to be talk about unifying Fatah and Hamas, we're not going to be talking about West Bank and Gaza. This is going to be freeing whole of Palestine and moving on to a post-Israel reality, where there's real democracy with equal rights," he said. 

    "Because it's really the only realistic solution, it's the only realistic option other than keeping things the way they are, which is what Trump and Netanyahu want to see and want to do."

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    Tags:
    peace agreement, Benjamin Netanyahu, Mahmoud Abbas, Donald Trump, Israel, Palestine, United States
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