Published: Sat, February 25, 2017
Health Care | By Kelly Miles

Trump reiterates neutrality on two-state solution, but says he 'likes' it

Trump reiterates neutrality on two-state solution, but says he 'likes' it

Asked during an interview with Reuters Thursday whether he had backed away from the two-state concept during his February 15 joint White House appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump said, "No, I like the two-state solution". Gone was Netanyahu's grimacing and wincing at Obama's remarks. I've looked at this issue, as have many others.

The common wisdom, as expressed by Secretary of State John Kerry in his defense of anti-settlement U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 in December, is that a two-state solution is the only way to preserve an Israel that is both Jewish and democratic; a one-state resolution would have to sacrifice one or the other of those Zionist ideals. It was only when reporters started asking questions that both leaders responded.

Hebron has been at the centre of a wave of deadly unrest since October 2015 that has killed 252 Palestinians, 36 Israelis, two USA nationals, a Jordanian, an Eritrean and a Sudanese, according to an AFP count.

Khalidi said in an interview with the official Palestinian radio station (Voice of Palestine) that "nobody can take this achievement from Palestine", adding that "Israel is attempting to take over the lands of the Palestinian state and suggest difference solutions". Netanyahu called on all of the students to visit Israel.

But that's an overly simplistic interpretation of a deeply complex situation. Displaying his Twitter-limited ability to absorb information, Trump did what he does best, he "winged" it, leaving it as always for administration spokespersons to later explain what he supposedly really meant.

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"We want to see Israel safe and secure of its borders; we support the rights of the Palestinians people to have their own state", the opposition leader said.

So it was jarring when President Donald Trump, speaking at a press conference at the start of his meeting with Netanyahu on Wednesday, Feb. 15, nonchalantly waved off two-state absolutism.

The body - comprising representatives from across the Arab world - said "the Palestinian cause remains the key to achieving comprehensive peace and stability in the Middle East" and "continuation of the Israeli settlement project will lead to a one-state reality, which is no solution", arguing it would further destabilise the region. Friedman refers to the West Bank as Judea and Samaria, its biblical name. Netanyahu has backed Israelis who illegally build settlements in Palestinian territory, and his party has sought to retroactively legalize such settlements.

The third issue was one that the leaders did not explicitly spell out but dropped hints about, using phrases such as "new concept" and "bigger deal" with "newfound allies".

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