President Donald Trump has dropped Washington’s commitment for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, backing away from a long-held position of the US and the international community in the Middle East.
In a joint press conference on Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump said he would back a single-state solution if the two sides agreed to it.
“Looking at two-state or one-state, I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one both parties like. I can live with either one,” Trump told reporters after meeting Netanyahu in Washington.
“The United States will encourage a peace and really a great peace deal … We will be working on it very, very diligently. But it is the parties themselves who must directly negotiate such an agreement,” Trump said.
A two-state solution – the idea of Israel and Palestine living side-by-side and at peace – has been the bedrock of US and international diplomacy for the past two decades.
Al Jazeera’s James Bays, reporting from the White House, said Trump’s comments marked “a very dramatic development” in the search for peace in the Middle East.
“Now, for the first time upending long-standing US policy, Trump says he is not wedded to a two-state solution, and that’s a fundamental change – basically ripping up the longstanding roadmap.
“It’s going against UN Security Council resolutions; it’s going against the agreed position of the international community.”
Netanyahu said that he wanted to focus on “substance” and not “labels,” when asked about his support for a two-state solution.
“There are two prerequisites for peace. First the Palestinians must recognise the Jewish state … Second, in any peace agreement, Israel must retain the overriding security control over the entire area west of the Jordan River,” he said.
Trump also said that Washington was working to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“I would like to see that happen. We are looking at it very very strongly. We are looking at it with great care. Let’s see what happens.”
“I’d like to see you pull back on settlements for a little bit,” Trump told Netanyahu on the illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera