update deskMiddle East

Trump voices favoring two-state solution, seeks Mideast peace before end of first term

“I like the two-state solution,” Trump said to reporters alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “That’s what I think works best. I don’t even have to speak to anybody; that’s my feeling.”

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 26, 2018. Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO.
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 26, 2018. Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday appeared to endorse the two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.

“I like two-state solution,” Trump said to reporters alongside Netanyahu. “That’s what I think works best. I don’t even have to speak to anybody; that’s my feeling.”

The remarks by Trump on Wednesday appear to be a shift from statements he made earlier in his presidency regarding a two-state solution.

“I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” Trump said to Netanyahu during their meeting in February 2017. “I can live with either one.”

Peace efforts by the Trump administration have been spearheaded by his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and Middle East special envoy Jason Greenblatt. While both Kushner and Greenblatt have made several trips to the region, the administration has not offered a concrete timeline for when they would unveil their long-awaited Mideast peace plan.

However, efforts have also been complicated by the fact that the Palestinians have boycotted Trump administration officials since late last year, when Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

When asked about the timetable by reporters, Trump said the plan was likely to come in the next few months.

“I want a plan that’s solid, understood by both sides, really semi-agreed by both sides before we present. I would say two, three, four months,” he said.

“I think a lot of progress has been made,” he added. “I think Israel wants to do something. I think Palestinians want to do something. It will start moving pretty soon, pretty rapidly.”

The president also said that he regards achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace as a “dream of mine,” and that he hopes to “to be able to get that done prior to the end of my first term. We’ll do other things in my second term.”

Following their meeting, Netanyahu said he was not surprised by Trump’s claim that he favors a two-state solution, saying “everyone defines the term ‘state’ differently.”

Said Netanyahu: “I am willing for the Palestinians to have the authority to rule themselves without the authority to harm us.”

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