Trump to work for 'just, lasting' Mideast peace

Trump to work for 'just, lasting' Mideast peace
US president-elect Donald Trump vowed to work for a "just, lasting peace" between Israel and Palestine on Friday, in his first public message on the issue since his upset victory.
3 min read
11 November, 2016
Trump's shocking victory was announced on on November 9 [AFP]

US president-elect Donald Trump pledged to work for a "just, lasting peace" between Israel and the Palestinians on Friday, in the first public message on the issue since his shock-victory.

"I believe that my administration can play a significant role in helping the parties to achieve a just, lasting peace," Trump said in a message published by the Israel Hayom newspaper.

He also said that any peace deal "must be negotiated between the parties themselves, and not imposed on them by others."

Trump had pledged in a meeting with Netanyahu in September to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's "undivided" capital if he is elected president.

"Trump acknowledged that Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish people for over 3,000 years, and that the United States, under a Trump administration, will finally accept the long-standing congressional mandate to recognise Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the state of Israel," his campaign said in a statement at the time.

Meanwhile, a former Likud minister called on the Israeli government to take advantage of the election of Donald Trump and expand settlement construction in the Palestinian East Jerusalem and the West Bank, the Times of Israel reported on Friday.

The divisive comments come as France continues to push for an international conference to revitalise the declining peace process, but Israel has said it will not take part - saying any peace talks should be bilateral between the two sides.

Russia has also offered to host direct talks between the two sides that have so far yet to take place.

The Palestinians have called for international involvement, accusing Israel of reneging on past agreements.

Speaking Friday after meeting Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said Trump's victory was "American business."

"We followed the electoral process for over a year. What matters to us is what Mr. Trump will say once he enters the White House," he said at a press conference.

He added that he had stressed to Medvedev his willingness to hold negotiations in Russia "but the Israeli side asked to postpone it."

Medvedev said Russia was willing to "immediately" open a dialogue between the two sides, whether under Russian or international mediation.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama have had frosty relations for much of the past eight years, but initial indications are that Trump's victory could see a warming of personal relations.

Netanyahu was among the first leaders Trump spoke to after his election victory, and the president-elect's message called Israel a "beacon of hope."

Israeli right-wingers have hailed Trump's win as an opportunity to consolidate control over the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the hard-line Jewish Home party, said on Wednesday that the US election result meant the idea of a "Palestinian state was over".