UPDATE May 3, 1:20 p.m. EST:
Following a joint meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, President Trump said the White House is starting a process between the Israelis and Palestinians that "hopefully will lead to peace." Trump, however, wouldn't elaborate on specific details.
Earlier in the day, Trump reiterated his resounding commitment to brokering what is "perhaps the toughest deal" to make. He added that he'll "do whatever is necessary" to reach a peace agreement among the neighboring countries.
WATCH | President Trump addresses reporters from the Oval Office.
ORIGINAL STORY: On Wednesday, President Trump will welcome another foreign leader to the White House: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, according to the Associated Press. Among the topics of conversation will be the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the construction of settlements in the occupied territories, such as the West Bank, and the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Wednesday at the WH: Pres Trump holds talks with Palestinian Pres Abbas to discuss pursuit of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) May 2, 2017
At first, Palestinians were relieved that the US president was meeting with the Palestinian leader, particularly after Trump had seemingly already pledged his alliance to Israel. However, those feelings of relief were soon shrouded after it became apparent that Trump is expected to ask Abbas to halt stipends for families of Palestinians killed or jailed in the context of the conflict with Israel.
The meeting comes at a pivotal time for Abbas, whose political legitimacy is waning among other countries and his own constituents. Polls suggest that nearly two-thirds of Palestinians want him to resign.
New elections were recently stymied after a rivalry with the Hamas militant group.
The meeting on Pennsylvania Ave. comes after President Trump met with the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, in February.
The optics of meeting with Abbas on Wednesday seemingly reaffirmsTrump's commitment to brokering peace between the two countries.
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