Trump charts new Mideast course
Maybe no separate Palestine
Charting a striking new course for the Middle East, President Donald Trump on Wednesday withheld clear support for an independent Palestine and declared he could endorse a one-nation solution to the long and deep dispute between Palestinians and Israel.
The American president, signalling a new era of comity between the U.S. and Israel after rocky relations under President Barack Obama, said he was more interested in an agreement that leads to peace than in any particular path to get there. Standing beside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump broke not only with recent U.S. presidents but also distanced the United States from the prevailing position of much of the world.
While Trump urged Netanyahu to “hold off” on Jewish settlement construction in territory the Palestinians claim for their future state, he offered unwavering support for Israel, a pledge he appeared to substantiate with his vague comments about the shape of any agreement.
While it once appeared that a two-state solution was the “easier of the two” options for the Palestinians and Israel, Trump said he’d be open to alternatives. “I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” he told reporters. “I can live with either one.”
The United States has formally backed the two-state solution as official policy since 2002, when President George W. Bush said in the White House Rose Garden that his vision was “two states, living side by side in peace and security.”
U.S. President Donald Trump escorts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into the White House in Washington, Wednesday.