For Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, a lot is riding on his first meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in May. The thrust of the talks will be to end the historic distrust between the Israelis and Palestinians to pave the way for a lasting peace agreement.

Abbas submitted written responses at the end of March to questions submitted by The Asahi Shimbun.

Excerpts follow:

Q: How do you view the importance of the latest Arab League Summit, and what outcome are you seeking in your talks in Washington?

Abbas: It is important for the Arab World to act as a block in all our challenges, especially including the difficult current situation.

Our vision is for a plural Arab World of democracy and the rule of law. We want an Arab world where Muslims, Christians and Jews, Sunnis, Shiites, Druze, Maronites, Armenians and Orthodox, among others, will coexist as equal citizens before the law, just as it is the case of Palestine.

We need to bring hope to our youth, and this starts by solving the cause of the heart of the Arab world, which is Palestine and our eternal capital East Jerusalem.

As the Arab League we have had the Arab Peace Initiative since 2002, a regional peace plan that Israel never responded to. We realize that Israel has strong military forces in order to advance its apartheid agenda, which is a violation of international law.

But we know that the moral conscience of the world is not going to allow this to continue. We expect the Arab League to do what is needed: Take concrete measures regarding the Israeli occupation, contribute to the steadfastness of our people and support our efforts worldwide.

Q: Recently you met with Egyptian President Al Sisi and spoke with Jordan’s King Abdullah II ahead of the Arab League Summit and your summit meeting in the United States. How do you think neighboring Arab countries can contribute to the peace process?

A: Both countries are stakeholders in any peace process as Egypt shares its border with Gaza and Jordan borders the West Bank. Additionally Jordan has played an historic role in the holy sites of our capital, Jerusalem. They have both signed peace treaties with Israel and so they have their particular views and interests. We understand them and work in cooperation, sharing information and discussing options and international initiatives. The question though, before talking about any peace process, is to create the right environment for peace to come. This will be impossible as far as Israel’s colonial-settlement enterprises continues, meaning the daily theft of natural resources, imposition of obstacles to our free movement within our own country, and with and from the rest of the world, as well as with Israel, the occupying power, violating its own obligations under international law and signed agreements.

Q: Could you explain what you talked with Trump during your phone conversation on March 10? Trump invited you the summit meeting in Washington in April. Could you explain what your strategy will be with regard to this important occasion?

A: We are glad that now the U.S. administration listens about us from us, and not from third parties. We are going to meet President Trump in April to continue our discussion on how to conclude a peace deal with the help of the U.S. President Trump knows that we are committed to a Middle East that lives in peace, justice and dignity, based on two states solution, international legitimacy and Arab peace initiative. And he knows that we are partners in combating terrorism in our region and worldwide. I am ready to meet the prime minister of Israel any time in Washington under the patronage of President Trump. Will send our delegation to the U.S. to prepare for my visit there.

Q: What did you think about Trump’s mention of “one state” during a joint news conference with the Israeli prime minister in February? And why did the Palestinian Authority avoid making any direct criticism about Trump’s statement?

A: We don’t think that there is an alternative to the two-state solution on the 1967 border. The comment on “one state” is something that some members of the Israeli government wanted to hear. But their vision of “one state” is one that no government anywhere in the world could ever accept. Most of the Israeli Cabinet, the vast majority, has come out on the record of supporting the idea of one single state with two different systems, one for Israeli-Jews and another one for Palestinians, Christians and Muslims. This is an apartheid regime. Some of our people said, “fine, you want to talk about one state? Let’s talk about full democracy with equal rights.” Okay, you think that Israel will ever be a partner for equality with the Palestinians? I don’t think so, their vision is not about that. What we care about is to have a two-state solution, to have a final status agreement on all issues based on international law.

Q: Trump mentioned the moving U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem many times since the election campaign. If the United States decide to go ahead with the move, what will you do? And what will happen in the Palestinian territories and the region?

A: We have been clear that we don’t want this to happen. We told the U.S. administration that and they know our position. They also know the regional position on that matter. If your question is if we have a plan, the answer is yes. But we hope that we don’t get to implement it. And we believe that the U.S. administration is not going to take such an illegal, dangerous and destructive measure like that. We have called upon the U.S. administration to engage in making a peace deal between Palestinians and Israelis and that we are willing to help and cooperate based on two states on 1967.

Q: What do you think about the current Israeli settlement policy? And do you expect the Trump administration to move to restrain expanding settlements.

A: It’s not about the “current” settlement policy. It is about a whole colonial-settlement regime aimed at imposing an apartheid regime in all of Palestine. It is not about “restraining” settlement construction. They are a war crime under international law.

All Israeli settlements are illegal regardless of where they are within the Occupied Territory. We are not going to accept any formula that talks about “restraining.” No, this has to stop. Do you realize the impact of settlements on the daily lives of my people? We are living under occupation, you know how it feels that all your life is controlled by a foreign occupying power? To “restrain” settlements will not stop Israel from uprooting our trees, taking over our land and water, or providing impunity for settlers and Israeli forces to attack our defenseless people.

Occupation and settlements activities by Israel has to stop. It's time for making peace.

Q: What do you think and expect from the international community, including Japan, for Palestine and the peace process? Could you give us a message for the Japanese people?

A: The peace is based on an historic and painful Palestinian compromise: We recognized Israel, We did that back in 1993, while so far Israel has never recognized the State of Palestine. Israel has continued to build illegal settlements on our land. This is only because Israel doesn’t believe on a Palestinian State. It is not only an ideological position, but a very pragmatic one: Israel doesn’t pay a price for its systematic violation of international humanitarian law, U.N. resolutions and human rights. So why would they recognize Palestine? That’s the logic among the Israeli ministers.

That's why we are inviting countries that recognized Israel to recognize Palestine as well, and by that they are contributing in preserving the two states solution.

Japan is a country that has heavily invested in peace and stability of our region through the development of the corridor for peace and prosperity to help peace. Japan helping the building of Palestinian institutions and its economy. We are thankful to the Japanese people.