Donald Trump is convinced that the Mideast should no longer be riven by violence and that peace is within reach.
"I want to see peace with Israel and the Palestinians," he told Reuters in an interview last week. "There is no reason there's not peace between Israel and the Palestinians — none whatsoever."
For decades, this goal has eluded world leaders, including Trump's predecessor Barack Obama. That Trump has tasked his son-in-law Jared Kushner with negotiating peace and longtime lawyer, Jason Greenblatt, to be his on-the-ground envoy deal are signs of the importance the president places on the issue.
A possible step in the direction of peace will be his meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday.
But according to Ghassan Khatib, a professor of political science at Birzeit University in the West Bank, Trump may be underestimating the task at hand.
"The main concern for Palestinians is to make him understand that there are two sides ... and that the second side is important," he said.
This "second side" is the Palestinian version of a long-running struggle that many such as Khatib feel Trump may not possess an in-depth knowledge of.
At the heart of the conflict is the Palestinians' desire for an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem — land Israel captured in 1967. Talks for this have ground to a halt with each side accusing the other of not being willing negotiate in good faith.
According to Israeli emergency services, some 48 Israelis were killed and 608 wounded in attacks by individual Palestinians since August 2015 — the latest bout of violence. During the same period, around 260 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces and more than 18,000 wounded, according to Palestinian officials.
Palestinians also allege that Israel is undermining efforts to achieve an independent state by allowing Jewish settlement on land occupied after the Six-Day War in 1967. The number of settlers on territory claimed by the Palestinians grew from 198,300 in 2000 to 385,900 in 2015, according to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Palestinians complain that these growing settlements make a contiguous state impossible.
That Trump appears to have surrounded himself with people broadly seen to be close to Israel has made some question how much weight he will be prepared to give the Palestinian version of events. Chief among the figures is the U.S.'s new ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who is a fervent supporter of Israeli settlements and an opponent of Palestinian statehood.