Arab Leaders Renew Call for Palestinian State

President Donald Trump is "serious" about solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said ahead of a meeting with the USA leader.

According to the Washington Post, the Arab leaders are widely expected to reiterate support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, "sending a strong message to the White House".

During his speech to the summit, Abbas singled out the support of Jordan and Egypt, both of which have peace treaties with Israel, as essential to the Palestinian national cause.

The heads of Arab League states - attending a one-day summit beside the Dead Sea in Jordan - did not publicly refer to Trump or his statements on Wednesday, but they stressed their own continued backing for an independent Palestinian state. In the past, Israel has balked at the plan's proposed scope of withdrawals and its call for a "just settlement" of the Palestinian refugee problem.

The statement said Greenblatt "welcomed hearing the perspectives of Arab leaders on Israeli-Palestinian issues and highlighted the important role regional partners can play in the pursuit of peace".

"Israel is continuing to expand settlements and wreck chances of peace", King Abdullah of Jordan tells summit.

Last month, Washington signaled that it would no longer insist on the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, marking a significant shift in the U.S. foreign policy on the subject.

The Palestinians want to set up a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war.

"Arab citizens from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arab Gulf feel the pain of their brethren in Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Libya and Yemen", said Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

The agenda of the Summit was topped by the turmoil in Syria, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the Islamic State (IS).

Arab leaders will discuss Libya, where a UN-backed unity government has struggled to assert its authority, and the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Arab League member nations affirmed their support for the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which calls for a two-state solution based on the pre-1949 armistice lines in exchange for reconciliation with Israel.

The agreement, which was expected, comes weeks after Trump tossed a diplomatic wrench into the Middle East peace process by seemingly stepping back from a decades-long USA commitment to eventual Palestinian statehood.

During his campaign, he promised to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem. The summit declared its opposition to countries moving their diplomatic missions in Israel to Jerusalem.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, has been a scene of frequent Israeli-Palestinian tensions, including clashes.

During the summit session, the Egyptian president and Saudi Arabia's King Salman slipped out of the summit session for face-to-face talks.

Saudi Arabia along with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar continue to back Syria's rebels and refuse to accept any outcome that doesn't remove President Bashar al Assad from power.

  • Larry Hoffman