Washington/New York: President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he’d prefer to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by creating two separate states, re-aligning himself with the traditional US position on an eventual peace deal.
Trump also said his administration would produce its long-awaited attempt at a new Mideast peace plan — devised in part by son-in-law Jared Kushner — within about four months.
“I like two-state solution," Trump said at a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations General Assembly.
Trump said shortly after taking office that he’d be fine with whatever the two sides agreed to, appearing to abandon the longstanding US position that the Palestinians should have their own nation. “I like the one that both parties like," he said in a news conference with Netanyahu at the time.
Many officials in Netanyahu’s government oppose a Palestinian state, and the prime minister himself has expressed skepticism that a Palestinian nation adjoining Israel would be peaceful. The Palestinians called on Trump to reassert US support for their own state.
Netanyahu, speaking to reporters on Wednesday following his meeting with Trump, said he supports the notion of the Palestinians governing themselves, but stressed that Israel would have to retain full security control of borders.
“I am open to the idea of the Palestinians ruling themselves as long as they can’t harm us," he said. “I’m sure every American plan will reflect this issue to a large extent, or perhaps even to a full extent. Kushner says everyone defines a state in a different way. What is a state? Is it Costa Rica or Iran? Who has security control? Israel or others?’’
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to address the UN on Thursday, where his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said he’ll deliver “a clear speech to the president that outlines the real features of a final peace."
“The road to peace requires a two-state solution, a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital, and this is the Arab and international position," Rudeina said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Netanyahu thanked Trump for moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a decision that outraged Palestinians and led them to cut off peace talks.
Trump called the embassy’s location “the primary ingredient as to why deals couldn’t get done. That meant everything and now that’s off the table."
“Now that will also mean that Israel will have to do something that will be good for the other side," he said. “That’s a big chip that they got.’