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US President Donald Trump\ and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold a joint press conference. -AFP
US President Donald Trump\ and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold a joint press conference. -AFP

US President Donald Trump halted Washington's quest for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Wednesday, saying he would back a single state if it led to peace.

The new president warmly welcomed Israel's 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 Jewish settlements for a “little bit” — Trump broke with the international consensus insisting on two states.

“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. I can live with either one,” he said.

“I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two but, honestly, if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I am happy with the one they like the best.”

If this change in the US stance was calculated to please Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition, Trump's views on the shortcomings of the Palestinian position will delight them.

“I think the Palestinians have to get rid of some of that hate that they're taught from a very young age,” he said, echoing Netanyahu's argument that Palestinians are not ready for peace.

“They're taught tremendous hate. I have seen what they're taught... it starts in the school room, and they have to acknowledge Israel.”

Netanyahu had warm words for the US alliance, and hammered home his own prerequisites for peace.

“First, the Palestinians must recognise 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,” he added.

This area contains the entire West Bank area that would represent the heart of any Palestinian state as conceived in all previous international agreements.

The change in the US stance, which was trailed overnight by a US official, triggered Palestinian despair and consternation in international capitals.

The second ranking official in the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Saeb Erekat, denounced it as an attempt to “bury the two state solution and eliminate the state of Palestine.” And he warned that any single state that emerged would lose Israel's Jewish character.

“There's only one alternative,” he told a news conference. “A single democratic state that guarantees the rights of all: Jews, Muslims and Christians.”

Victory cry

The new US message deliberately echoed the long-standing Israeli position: No peace deal can be imposed from outside and the agenda for talks must reflect the reality on the ground.

Naftali Bennett, the right-wing leader of the hardliner Jewish Home party and an opponent of any Palestinian state cried victory.

“A new era. New ideas. No need for third Palestinian state beyond Jordan and Gaza. Big day for Israelis and reasonable Arabs. Congrats,” he tweeted.

But Trump's decision flew in the face of an international consensus that any final status agreement must be based on a return to Israel's 1967 border — albeit with land swaps.

Just five days before Trump's January 20 inauguration, Barack Obama's outgoing US administration was among 70 countries to endorse this vision at a peace conference in Paris.

And just a month before that, Obama's ambassador to the United Nations broke with longstanding US policy to allow a UN motion that criticised Israeli settlement building.

Addressing a US-Israeli conference in December, the then secretary of state John Kerry called settlements a “barrier” to progress.

Under Trump, that vision appears dead, and Washington has aligned itself with Netanyahu's government and its supporters in the right-wing settler movement.

Speaking in Cairo after talks with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, UN chief Antonio Guterres warned that “everything must be done” to preserve the two-state solution.

France, which organised the January peace conference, was also unimpressed. Its ambassador to the UN, Francois Delattre told reporters “our commitment to the two-state solution is stronger than ever.”

Trump has tapped son-in-law Jared Kushner and lawyer Jason Greenblatt to lead peace efforts. Kushner had dinner with Netanyahu — a long time family friend — and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday night.

Comments (85) Closed

my Comments Feb 16, 2017 12:28am

Wonder what would happen to United Nations's resolutions? Any response from OIC yet?

BROTHER THERESA Feb 16, 2017 12:29am

India stands with our Time tested Friends Isreal.

Ali mastan Feb 16, 2017 12:48am

What will be US stance on Kashmir issue?

gungo Feb 16, 2017 01:02am

It is your time now. One day you will be on the other side of fence then we will ask how you feel.

Shah Feb 16, 2017 01:03am

Is another Intifada coming??? You cannot trust Trump...

ENGR OSMAN Feb 16, 2017 01:04am

Very irresponsible comment from Trump but what else to expect from his cabinet - soon US will lose their standing internationally

Ahmer Feb 16, 2017 01:10am

As expected. Things are roll-balling to south faster than ever. US risks the ire of the rest of the world especially EU barring the UK. France and Germany would be at the forefront to oppose this. Let's see how our government and the powerful oil-rich Middle East countries respond to it.

Guest Feb 16, 2017 01:11am

One united Israel-Palestinian state would be the best solution for continued future peace and prosperity.

imtiaz Faruqui Feb 16, 2017 01:15am

Where all Trump's policies are failing so far , with this he think he can get the favor of the Jews and get some complements. When the whole world is against this policy on Israel.

anony Feb 16, 2017 01:27am

"Trump has tapped son-in-law Jared Kushner and lawyer Jason Greenblatt to lead peace efforts. Kushner had dinner with Netanyahu — a long time family friend — and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday night."

So much for democracy.

MUHAMMAD Feb 16, 2017 01:41am

If it can bring peace in the region then I think palestinians should negotiate with israel for a one state solution if israel is ready to accept them as equal citizen of the state. And if that is guaranteed then they should merge together to form a state and all the muslim states should recognize this new state for stablity and betterment of middle east. Isreal is developed and technologically advance hence palestinians can benefit from that. Palestinian state if comes into being will still be very weak and under constant threat from both israel and arab world plus geographically its very small and divided into two non contigious parts (WB and Gaza). Its thus better to go for a single state solution but only if it guarantees equal rights and protection of palestinians

Skkk Feb 16, 2017 01:43am

Ultimately on peaceful negotiations can work.

zeeshandxb Feb 16, 2017 01:41am

Trump is playing the wrong cards i feel. He is being too exposed in his approach against muslims and i think it can lead to a strong backlash

Shahid Feb 16, 2017 02:01am

This is quite expected of Trump. So no surprises there...

Well wisher Feb 16, 2017 02:02am

This issue will never be solved in our life time.

Imran Feb 16, 2017 02:11am

No surprise.

UFO Feb 16, 2017 02:13am

With One State solution, Israel will either lose its so-called 'only democratic country in the Middle East' status or it will end up giving 'too much power' to Palestinians in its politics. Trump is a Trojan horse to everything America stands for to maintain it power and false moral high ground.

Sincerly Feb 16, 2017 02:22am

Two states is always a bad solution. Look at India and Pakistan, they still have the tension at the border after 70 years.

Kashif Feb 16, 2017 02:26am

What else could you expect, i doubt trump can bring peace among two nations.

Azam A Siddiqui Feb 16, 2017 02:28am

The Palestinian problem has at least two dimensions.Pride and prejudice is one and might is right another.Those who sincerely want peace must be prepared to make concessions.In their superior wisdom and arrogance nations can make peace impossible and turn problems into cancer.Many peace loving people are afraid of giving any opinion lest they may press somebody's toes.So this peace caravan will keep on moving with half speed.Palestine is a hot potato.

Saif zulfiqar Feb 16, 2017 02:31am

US government keep on changing their promises in the world affairs.

RexImperio Feb 16, 2017 02:31am

Now Indians who actually have nothing to with the whole Israel-Palestine conflict will start to celebrate.

Dr Khan Feb 16, 2017 02:33am

Biggest mistake by Trump.

East India Feb 16, 2017 02:31am

Two state solution didn't bring peace in subcontinent.why anyone would think , the same formula will bring peace in Middle East.

Chirag Feb 16, 2017 02:50am

Nice one....Mr Trump

Enough of Obama who could not make up his mind.....and let things go out of hands

Dr mazhar Feb 16, 2017 02:50am

This is called global dictatorship.

Ahmad zubair Feb 16, 2017 02:55am

Peace in Middle East will be attained when Palestinian Muslims,Christians and Jews will start respecting each other, instead of hating each other. It doesn't matter whether it is one,two or even three state soloution

Hasan Feb 16, 2017 02:57am

Who gave the right to US and Trump to decide the solution of Palestine????

Moth Feb 16, 2017 03:17am

Who cares what Donald Trump and BiBi think. It is the United Nations that will decide what the solution is!

Pragmatist Feb 16, 2017 03:25am

A single state solution is actually the death of Israel and victory for Palestinians. Let's give it a try.

hedgefunder Feb 16, 2017 03:40am

Get ready K word, is heading in same direction ! This is the new world order, whether one likes its not ! Learn yo live with it and grow up too !

Akil Akhtar Feb 16, 2017 03:48am

These people give us lectures on humanity and justice....LOL

hani Feb 16, 2017 05:13am

Again one more step to sabotage the cultivation of not only Obama but world's main powers led peace deal..... Isn't Mr. Trump is inching to replicate another Nixon for his impeach ??

Mirza Feb 16, 2017 05:27am

Just wait when Modi vists . There will be lot of surprises for Pakistan

Shairuu Feb 16, 2017 05:31am

Blessing in disguise for the Palestinians, pretty soon Palestinians will be a majority in the state. That's why a dump friend is more dangerous than an enemy, in this case for Israel.

AAG Feb 16, 2017 06:12am

why are we surprised ?

asad lateef Feb 16, 2017 06:51am

DO the conservative catholic will accept this change?

Nilesh Feb 16, 2017 07:05am

What!!!! That's a good news.

Usman Feb 16, 2017 07:51am

Crazy attracts crazy. Trump and Netanyahu are made for each other.

thunder Feb 16, 2017 08:07am

I fully support one democratic state solution, called it Isreal or Palestine, provided all Palestinian refugees from Jordan, Egypt and Arab countries are allowed to migrate back to the new state.

MA Feb 16, 2017 08:13am

Trump can't make peace for his own country, what is expected of him for others .

Muslim Medina Feb 16, 2017 08:21am

This decision of U.S. will increase tensions in Middle East. U.S. soon will feel isolated if Trump continues to flirt with breaking all agreements.

saz Feb 16, 2017 08:18am

@ALIsanto why? That was their country. Israel had encroached their land.

LOVE JOY PEACE Feb 16, 2017 08:22am

I too support the One Nation policy, the State of Palestine... - A Brother across the border

Baloch Feb 16, 2017 08:20am

India must stand by israel in this hour of need...

Alba Feb 16, 2017 08:35am

If the Palestinians wanted a two state solution there would have already been a two state solution. Only Jerusalem would not be the Palestinian capitol. That is the sticking point. The truth is the Palestinians have never compromised on anything. " It's our way or the highway." They are not in a situation to tell the Israelis what to do. The Palestinians are trying to overpopulate the Israelis. That is their whole strategy - to wait. Now they have waited to long. Now more than half of Israelis have been born in the State of Israel. They have no other land. The problem is not the Sabras. The problem is the observant Jews who control the right wing in the Knesset. The Palestinians want all the Jews removed from Palestine, and observant Jews want all the Palestinians removed from "the Land of Israel". There is no solution because there is no compromise.

Desi Dimag Feb 16, 2017 08:57am

Everyone must support one state policy to save humanity.

Sohan Feb 16, 2017 08:58am

Trump is contradicting himself. A dangerous stance by US, how can both parties be happy with one State policy? A very sad development which will bring lots of miseries to Palestinian people.

alla buX Feb 16, 2017 09:18am

Trumps soultions: 1. Palestine -- One state 2. Kashmir -- LOC - IB

y-fi Feb 16, 2017 10:34am

I knew already that Trump isn't different then former US presidents ... only difference is, he is a little louder.

Vasan Feb 16, 2017 11:05am

Trump will not interfere in IND-PAK matter, because we are not seeking his advice.

We have a perfect solution or not, but are in touch with each other.

Imran AB Feb 16, 2017 11:39am

When the fate of two people is decided elsewhere then this is what you get .... conflicting and opposing decisions and policies every time the government there changes !!!

HAMZAH Feb 16, 2017 12:22pm

Unfit president continues to sow the seeds of violence. What a pity. US has failed to bring peace in region.

Zak Feb 16, 2017 12:38pm

@BROTHER THERESA and we dont stand with Israel by any means.

SOLAT Feb 16, 2017 12:47pm

@BROTHER THERESA Obviously there are many common things between India and Israel both occupied illegal territories.

Abdulla Hussain Feb 16, 2017 01:07pm

This Trump gesture is limited to a maximum of four years thereafter things will roll down to sense again.

Harambe of Cincinnati Feb 16, 2017 01:27pm

@RexImperio : That is YOUR own prejudice--India profiling!

Harambe of Cincinnati Feb 16, 2017 01:29pm

@Ahmad zubair : You counted Muslims, Christians, and Jews--by religious identity. Try counting them as humans---Just try!

Dr. SalariA, Aamir Ahmad Feb 16, 2017 01:30pm

Yet another silly joke by Donald Trump and his cronies.

CRACK Feb 16, 2017 01:37pm

terrific. the real rulers and owners of American public have come out finally after election to celebrate.

congrats to America. & a black rose to Israel

Vijay Feb 16, 2017 01:46pm

@imtiaz Faruqui whole world - who are there in that world?

Ahsan Feb 16, 2017 02:10pm

"Two States" solution is the best to ensure lasting peace in the Middle East. This is how the followers of two distinct faiths ie Muslims and Jews can live as good neighbors

Abdulla Hussain Feb 16, 2017 02:26pm

After eight long years Netanyahu is seen laughing again, unfortunately or fortunately this looks a short lived phenomenon.

ABC Feb 16, 2017 04:14pm

@SOLAT NO dear both share common values of democracy, secularism,education and have been suffering from terrorism.

Love Your Country Feb 16, 2017 04:14pm

I have never seen BB beaming so much with joy in a press conference before - looked like he had found a gold mine yesterday (in the form of DT and his family members).

haris Feb 16, 2017 04:15pm

@Guest: "One united Israel-Palestinian state would be the best solution for continued future peace and prosperity."

Please elaborate how? FYI! Arabs living in Israel made up to 22% of the population and by next generation they could made up to 45% of the entire Israeli population. By that time they may demand a referendum and may vote to seed with Palestine. In order to avoid this scenario to happen, many Israeli think-tanks precariously have already proposed to marginalize the voting rights of Arab-Muslims. They wanted the ratio of vote as 1 Jewish-Israeli vote = 2 Muslim-Israeli vote.

IMO, the idea of having one-state instead of two-state solution is just another mantra to buy more time and continue Israeli ambition to expand geographically.

khanm Feb 16, 2017 04:17pm

I can deal with one state theory provided Nathanyaho bring backs all those Palestinian refugees back to where they belong, have democracy with equal say so and not just apartheid like south Africa. let the state of Israel belongs to Jews, Muslims, and Christians and not exclusively for Jews only... Although you have mention in you speech that japan belong to Japanese, China belongs Chinese, Israel belongs to Jews ... why Palestine does not belong to Palestinians ..How would your life be different if…You pretended those around you were deaf to your words? Let today be the day…You let your actions speak and communicate your feelings and intentions. indeed peace would be a gift in this region bur sir, A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.

Love Your Country Feb 16, 2017 04:17pm

@Sincerly - You are pointing finger in the wrong direction.The boarder issue was a creation of the Brits as they were leaving.

Love Your Country Feb 16, 2017 04:20pm

@Dr mazhar - hidden under the veil of democracy I may add.

k Feb 16, 2017 05:35pm

@MUHAMMAD Best pragmatic & mature comment of yours,

haris Feb 16, 2017 07:00pm

@Alba Palestinians have already compromised more than 70% of their land to Israel.

Chandra Feb 16, 2017 09:14pm

Trump's statements are so like a 5th grader, without any depth...if you are happy with one or two states I am happy :)

zee Feb 16, 2017 10:14pm

@BROTHER THERESA What about the time tested employment opportunities that the Gulf countries have provided ?

Reader Feb 17, 2017 12:08am

Typical American Values, so predictable.

Bahadur Feb 17, 2017 02:33am

Israel wants status quo where they can continue blaming Palestinians for any bloodshed labeling them as terrorists and continue building settlements in stolen land and keep blocking Gaza as if it were a prison.

sarfaraz ah. Feb 17, 2017 03:59am

@BROTHER THERESA Will Israel then take Indian labor class working in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar etc.?

Rp Feb 17, 2017 08:41am

@MUHAMMAD - I think the human civilization has developed to an extent that no country can expect to not give all its citizens equal rights for ever - so I think, the palestinians should serious consider a one state rule - just as East Germans immediately benefited from merger with the fully developed West Germany, Palestinias will be the immedite benefactors of this merger!

Khanm Feb 17, 2017 10:00am

@my Comments... OIC !!! Oh I see..OIC is impotent. 1.5 billions Muslim no say so..When leadership remains interested in money and their leadership...What do u expect.

deepa Feb 17, 2017 01:41pm

@SOLAT And British interference happened in both situations.

Pakistani Feb 17, 2017 02:45pm

Very soon. Israel will announce it is shifting its capital to Jerusalem and USA under Trump will support it.

gogo Feb 17, 2017 03:00pm

No US presidents has the guts to go against Israel. He will lose his chair next day.

TechScribe Feb 17, 2017 08:54pm

@Ahmad zubair Very well said friend. I hope it happens one day.

Udayakumar Feb 17, 2017 09:25pm

@MUHAMMAD So happy to know that there are honest and sober headed people exist in this part of the world.

Atif Feb 18, 2017 06:32am

Historically, Palestine was never a nation. If you study the history of the region, the area was part of the "People of the Land" Israel. Let us call a spade a spade.

sak Feb 18, 2017 10:43am

Pakistani should worry about issues in there country; it is Arab problem and leaders of Arab (Saudi Arabia USA, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt..; there leaders fully support Donald Trump no matter what he does.