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Erica R. Hendry
Erica R. Hendry
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In his four-day tour of the Middle East, President Donald Trump touted the “ultimate” peace deal.
The real question is: What kind of deal will that be?
Trump made personal pleas to both sides of the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict during the first leg of his overseas trip, which took him to both Saudi Arabia and Israel and the West Bank.
But he was short on specifics, Daniel Estrin, NPR’s Jerusalem correspondent, told PBS NewsHour’s John Yang in an interview this week.
Watch Yang’s full interview with Estrin in the player above.
“He did not want to wade into any thorny issues,” Estrin said, noting the president did not reference controversial issues like Israeli settlements or his campaign promise to move U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Trump also did not speak about a two-state solution, something that was once a part of the Republican Party’s platform but the president has yet to endorse.
Trump received a warm reception from both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a reflection of how “both sides want to be in Trump’s favor right now.”
“There’s a new guy in the White House,” Estrin said. What we saw in this visit is a feeling that “it behooves them to welcome [Trump] and to make him feel happy.”
Still, “there’s a lot of cynicism” about Trump’s ability to finally broker a peace agreement.
“Clinton tried, Bush tried, Obama tried. They all failed at bringing peace. So many people I spoke to here … said ‘why should Trump be any different?’” Estrin said.
Some have also wondered whether Abbas, now a highly unpopular leader, has the ability to unite his people behind a deal Trump proposes, Estrin said.
READ MORE: In Riyadh, Trump took a selective stand on extremism, sent a clear message to Iran
Erica R. Hendry is the managing editor for digital at PBS NewsHour.
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