Following President Donald Trump’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it was revealed that Trump would not back a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
“The United States will encourage a peace and really a great peace deal,” Trump said during a news conference with Netanyahu.
“We will be working on it very, very diligently. But it is the parties themselves who must directly negotiate such an agreement,” the president added.
Trump’s refusal to endorse a two-state solution goes against the position the U.S. government has taken in the last two decades.
"I’m looking at a two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I could live with either one. I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two, but honestly, if Bibi [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] and if the Palestinians, if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best," Trump said.
A two-state solution would result in the creation of an independent Palestinian state within pre-1967 cease-fire lines in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem peacefully established alongside Israel, BBC News reports.
The longstanding concern has been that rejection of a two-state solution will ultimately result in the total obliteration of the Palestinian identity and existence.
Palestinian leaders warned against forgoing a two-state solution as the only alternative would be a single democratic state for Jews, Christians, and Muslims together. This would essentially become an apartheid state and result in “a disaster and a tragedy for both Israelis and Palestinians,” The Guardian reports.
“We want to tell those who want to bury and destroy the two-state solution that the real alternative to a Palestinian state living alongside an Israeli one on the 1967 lines is a democratic, secular state where Jews, Christians and Muslims can live together,” said senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.
“Those who believe they can leave the two-state solution and replace it with one-state and two systems, I don’t believe they can get away with it. It is impossible. I believe undermining the two-state solution is not a joke and that would be a disaster and tragedy for Israelis and Palestinians,” he added.
Trump’s refusal to back the two-state solution not only goes against traditional U.S. policy, but it also counteracts the stance of the United Nations, the Arab League, the European Union, and Russia — which all support the two-state concept.
If “peace” is truly what Trump wants to work toward, then he should be supporting the solution that benefits both Israel and Palestine as opposed to acting totally indifferent as he did during his press conference with Netanyahu.
By stating that he could, “live with either one” Trump is inadvertently saying he is OK with apartheid, which has historically proven to be catastrophic.
Of course, Trump’s stance is a reflection of the fact that he wants to build a relationship with Netanyahu. He has previously stressed that he wanted to be a strong ally to Israel along the campaign trail. With that in mind, along with the strong Muslim presence in Palestine, it’s no wonder that it’s such an easy call for Trump to throw Palestine under the bus to remain in Netanyahu’s good graces.
“If the Trump administration rejects this policy it would be destroying the chances for peace and undermining American interests, standing, and credibility abroad,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
“Accommodating the most extreme and irresponsible elements in Israel and in the White House is no way to make responsible foreign policy,” she added.
After this surprise shift in the White House’s position on the issue, Palestinian officials are urging the greater international community to “stand shoulder to shoulder” with Palestinians to protect the two-state solution.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Reuters