TWO-STATE SOLUTION ‘only way,’ say U.N., Arab League.
JERUSALEM — The United Nations and the Arab League on Thursday issued a joint statement in support of the establishment of a Palestinian state, a day after President Donald Trump said it’s up to Israel and the Palestinians to agree on the form of a final settlement.
The statement came a day after Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was visiting the U.S., refused to endorse the twostate solution as the preferred outcome of peace talks, abandoning what has been the cornerstone of U.S.-led peace efforts for two decades.
After a meeting in Cairo, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Arab League Chief Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said they agreed that the twostate solution is “the only way to achieve comprehensive and just settlement to the Palestinian cause.”
The statement put them at odds with Trump, who said at a White House meeting with Netanyahu that Mideast peace does not necessarily have to include the establishment of a Palestinian state. Trump said he could accept a two-state solution or a single-state arrangement if it is agreed upon by all sides. Netanyahu also was cool to the idea of an independent Palestinian state, saying he did not want to deal with “labels.”
The Trump administration appeared to backpedal Thursday, with U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley saying the United States absolutely supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that anyone who thinks it doesn’t is in “error.”
“We are thinking out of the box as well, which is: What does it take to bring these two sides to the table? What do we need to have them agree on?” she said. Haley also said the solution to the conflict has to come from the Israelis and Palestinians, but she said several times and stressed: “We absolutely support a two-state solution.” Haley, when asked whether the United States would carry out its obligations under the U.N. Security Council resolution that called for the establishment of two states, said, “Understand that the United States supports the two-state resolution. That’s never been wavered.”
“What we’re saying is, OK, let’s not just talk about the old way of doing things,” she said. “Come to the table with all the fresh atmosphere and perspectives that we now have, and think, OK, what can we do knowing all of the factors, knowing where we sit present-day, and how can we move forward.” Guterres had stressed earlier Wednesday that there is no “Plan B” to a two-state solution. Haley was asked if the United States had a “Plan B.”
“I think, first of all, a twostate solution is what we support,” she said. “Anybody who wants to say the United States doesn’t support a two-state solution — that would be an error.”
Trump also urged Netanyahu during their joint news conference at the White House on Wednesday to “hold off” on Jewish settlement construction in territory the Palestinians claim for their future state, to try to facilitate talks.
“What the president has said and we agree on is that expanding settlements at this point is not helpful,” Haley said. “That’s basically what we’re saying to both sides. Let’s take a pause.”