Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Trump Now Backs Two-State Solution, Naftali Bennett Threatens To Quit Government If Palestinian State Established

Donald Trump backed a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the first time as president on Wednesday, announcing his position at the beginning of a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York.

"I think that's what works best," Trump told the prime minister, reiterating his support several times.

The president up until now had equivocated on the two-state solution, which has long been Washington's preferred end state for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At the beginning of his administration, Trump said he was open to an alternative solution. And his Middle East peace team, which was present, has yet to use the term in public or in private to describe the framework of their plan.

That plan, Trump said, should be ready in two to four months. 

"I really believe something will happen. It is a dream of mine to be able to get that done prior to the end of my first term," Trump said, adding: "I like two-state solution."

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Netanyahu said he was not surprised by Trump's statement regarding two states and that he told the president in private that his priority was to maintain Israel's control over the security environment. 

"I told the president that what is important is that the Palestinians won't be able to threaten us, and for that reason there must be complete Israeli security control," Netanyahu said.

Bennett threatens to quit government if Palestinian state established

Bayit Yehudi Party head Naftali Bennett threatened on Wednesday that he would leave the government if a Palestinian state is created.

He issued the threat on Twitter moments after US President Donald Trump announced for the first time that he liked the idea of a two-state solution.

“As long as the Bayit Yehudi is in the government, there will be no Palestinian state. That would be a disaster for Israel.”
He added, however, that Trump “is a true friend of Israel.”

The Israeli NGO Peace Now lauded Trump’s words as belated acknowledgment that the only resolution to the conflict is two states.

“We hope that President Trump’s remarks today align him with the only realistic solution to the conflict, and put an end to the rumors and the evasion of negotiations.”

“Even Trump understands that two states is in Israel [best] interest,” Peace Now said in a statement.

“The time has come for the right-wing settlers, who see Trump as the Messiah to internalize the understanding that there is no other solution and to cease their annexation plans [for the West Bank].”

When Trump first met as president with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington in February 2017 he said, “I am looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like.”

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