In his opening remarks at his Washington press conference with Mahmoud Abbas, Donald Trump praised the Palestinian president for courageously signing the Declaration of Principles (DoP) - the official name for the Oslo Agreement - on the lawn of the White House 24 years ago.
According to Trump, the DoP “laid the foundation for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians”. Equally important, he told Abbas “you signed your name to the first Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement”. Trump supported Abbas for “being the Palestinian leader who signs his name to the final and most important peace agreement that brings safety, stability, and prosperity to both peoples and to the region”.
This was music to Abbas’s ears, who has been wishing for such recognition for a long time. Abbas has long complained about not receiving sufficient recognition for his historical role in signing that “very important” document, as all the credit went to the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat, including the Nobel Prize.
Undoubtedly, Trump’s opening remarks boosted Abbas’ ego at a time when he suffers a deep legitimacy crisis at home, criticised by the Palestinian people for leading the Palestinian polity into authoritarianism - mainly through sub-contracting repression - and for solidifying the foundation of a Palestinian police state under Israeli military occupation.