US President Donald Trump shelved Washington’s years-long quest for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian struggle Wednesday, saying he would back a “single state if it led to peace.”
The new president warmly welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House and hailed the “unbreakable” bond between their countries.
And while he urged Netanyahu to “hold back” from building Zionist settlements for a “little bit,” Trump broke with international consensus insisting on a future that included a Palestinian state and Israeli one.
“So I’m looking at 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,” he said. “I can live with either one.”
Trump said he had thought a two-state solution “looked like it may be the easier of the two. But honestly, if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.”
This change in the US stance was calculated to please Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition.
“I think the Palestinians have to get rid of some of that hate that they’re taught from a very young age,” Trump said, echoing Netanyahu’s argument that the Palestinians ‘are not ready for peace.’
Netanyahu had warm words for the Israeli-US alliance, and hammered home his own prerequisites for peace.
“First, the Palestinians must recognize the Jewish state. They have to stop calling for Israel’s destruction,” he said.
“Second, in any peace agreement, Israel must retain the overriding security control over the entire area west of the Jordan River.”