US President Donald Trump on Thursday said he thinks Palestinians will seek peace with Israel.
"I see ultimately the Palestinians, I see peace between Israel and the Palestinians – I see that happening," he told a news conference.
Trump on Thursday managed to pull off a rare victory for US diplomacy in the Middle East ahead of his Nov. 3 re-election bid by helping to broker a deal between American allies Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
The Gulf monarchy and Israel agreed to a normalization of diplomatic relations. Israel also said it would suspend annexing areas of the occupied West Bank as it had been planning to do.
Soon after he sealed the agreement by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, one of his strongest supporters, and Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Trump called it a "HUGE breakthrough" on Twitter and told reporters other similar Middle East deals are in the works.
Watch: White House adviser Jared Kushner says that a deal will take time to be implemented, when asked how long #Israel had agreed to suspend its West Bank annexation plans as part of a normalization deal with the #UAE.https://t.co/174cSNbZtv pic.twitter.com/W3u1BCRWtx— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) August 13, 2020
The chance to play global statesman was compelling for Trump, who trails in public opinion polls ahead of what is shaping up as a tough election battle against Democratic challenger Joe Biden and has struggled to contain the coronavirus pandemic that has battered the US economy.
Two of the Republican president's primary Middle East endeavors have sputtered in the past year. The new agreement, known as the Abraham Accord, has the potential to impact both.
Trump has been unable to negotiate what has been billed as the "deal of the century" between Israel and the Palestinians, and a peace plan he proposed in January that heavily favored the Israelis has not advanced in any significant way.
Trump, who walked away from the international nuclear deal with Iran, also has been unable to get concessions from Tehran in spite of a "maximum pressure" campaign aimed at isolating the Iranians.
Israel and the UAE, along with the another strong regional US ally in Saudi Arabia, count Iran as an important enemy, bolstering their joint opposition to Tehran.