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Trump Invites P.A. Leader Mahmoud Abbas to the White House

Mahmoud Abbas Donald Trump AP
Mahmoud Abbas Donald Trump AP

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump spoke with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas via telephone Friday. It was the first contact between the two leaders since Trump took office in January.

"President Donald Trump invited President Abbas to visit the White House very soon," the Israeli daily Haaretz quoted Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh as saying after the call.

Friday's phone conversion follows news that Jason Greenblatt, Trump's special advisor on the Arab-Israeli conflict, will be paying a visit to the Jewish state next week.

The White House is hoping Greenblatt's visit will give the administration a better idea of how to craft policy regarding Jewish communities in biblical Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

The U.S. commander in chief has made it clear that Middle East peace is a top priority for his administration. Toward that end, Trump asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold back on construction for now.

"As far as settlements, I'd like to see you (Netanyahu) hold back on settlements for a little bit," Trump said during a White House meeting with the Israeli leader last month. "We'll work something out, but I would like to see a deal be made. I think a deal will be made…."

"Bibi and I have known each other a long time -- a smart man, great negotiator -- and I think we're going to make a deal," he continued. "It might be a bigger and better deal than people in this room even understand. That's a possibility so let's see what we do."

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