Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas invited to White House by Donald Trump

Trump, according to a Palestinian spokesman, invited Abbas to meet with him at the White House in the near future, although the date is yet to be set.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will hold their first ever talk via telephone later today, Friday, according to White House and Palestinian officials.

The invitation was extended to Abbas by Trump during their first phone conversation on Friday since the USA president's inauguration on January 20, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

Palestinian officials had indicated before Friday's call that Mr Abbas would press the USA president about Israeli settlement-building on occupied land and the importance of a two-state solution.

The president told the Palestinian leader they would discuss how to rekindle peace talks, Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

Trump received Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in mid-February.

At that meeting, Trump said he would not pursue decades of American policy in favor of the so-called two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Morton Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America expressed disappointment with the decision to invite Abbas to the White House.

The policy shift fuelled Palestinian concerns that Washington was becoming even more pro-Israeli under the Trump administration.

Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are considered illegal under worldwide law and have been major stumbling blocks in negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.

A "two-state solution" to the decades-old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is the declared goal of their leaders and the global community.

One of the most heated issues between Israel and the Palestinians is Israel's building of settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, territory the Palestinians want for their own state along with Gaza.

The continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle to the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.

  • Leroy Wright