(September 26, 2018 / JNS) Though U.S. President Donald Trump stated his preference for the creation of a Palestinian state as a solution to the ongoing conflict between the Palestinian Authority and Israel in a private meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli leader told press in New York that Trump also acquiesced to everything he requested on behalf of Israel.
Photos taken of the meeting between Netanyahu and Trump, which took place on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting, showed both men smiling broadly and grasping hands. But when Trump addressed reporters, he told them: “I like two-state solution; that’s what I think works best. I don’t even have to speak to anybody; that’s my feeling.”
The statement appeared to be a departure from Trump’s previous statements, in which he said he would support whatever solution Israel and the P.A. could agree upon.
Netanyahu said he was not taken off-guard by Trump’s position.
“This does not come as a surprise,” he said after his meeting with Trump a day before Netanyahu’s speech at the U.N. General Assembly. “The question is: What is a country? Whether it is Costa Rica or Iran, there are many possibilities.”
“We are conducting talks, and I am prepared for the Palestinians to have the ability to defend themselves without the ability to threaten us,” said Netanyahu. “Except for Gaza, security control west of the Jordan River until the sea will remain in our hands. That is non-negotiable and will not change as long as I am prime minister. I am confident that any American initiative will include this principle.”
Netanyahu said he was “very pleased with the meeting with Trump,” who “expressed unqualified support for Israel’s right to defend itself in Syria,” adding that he had “submitted specific requests to Trump in the context of recent events in Syria, and I received all I wanted—these are very important things.”
Throughout the press conference, Netanyahu repeated multiple times that he received from Trump everything he requested, though did not specify as to what those requests were.