Palestinians puzzled by diluted US view on two-state solution
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Palestinians puzzled by diluted US view on two-state solution

After White House says two-state deal is 'not necessarily the framework' for peace, Ramallah officials warn such a shift 'is not responsible'

Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi speaks during a press conference on February 24, 2015 in the West Bank city of Ramallah. photo credit: AFP/ABBAS MOMANI)
Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi speaks during a press conference on February 24, 2015 in the West Bank city of Ramallah. photo credit: AFP/ABBAS MOMANI)

US President Donald Trump’s apparent break with decades of US support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is irresponsible and does not advance peace, a senior Palestinian said on Wednesday.

“This does not make sense,” Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi told AFP. “This is not a responsible policy and it does not serve the cause of peace.”

“They cannot just say that without an alternative,” she added.

Husam Zomlot, an adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said the goal of establishing a state of Palestine alongside Israel enjoys broad international support. “Two-state solution is not something we just came up with,” he said. Zomlot added that it was not clear if the comments signal a shift from the longstanding US policy of supporting a two-state deal.

Dr. Husam Zomlot, a senior political advisor to PA President Mahmoud Abbas. (Courtesy)
Husam Zomlot, a senior political adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas. (Courtesy)

Hours before Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were set to meet for the first time since the president took office, the White House announced Tuesday that Washington will seek to broker a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, but that a two-state solution may not necessarily be the framework to bring that peace to fruition and that the president will not insist on it.

A senior White House official said the United States would no longer seek to dictate the terms of any eventual peace settlement, but would support what the two sides agree to together. “A two-state solution that doesn’t bring peace is not our goal that anybody wants to achieve,” the official said in a briefing with reporters Tuesday night. “Peace is the goal. Whether it comes in the form of a two-state solution, if that’s what the parties want, or something else, if that’s what the parties want, we’re going to help them.”

“We’re not going to dictate what the terms of peace will be,” the official added. “President Trump has very much indicated that he wants to achieve peace,” he went on, noting also that an accord was a “very high priority for the administration.”

For his part, Netanyahu will reportedly tell Trump during their meeting that the establishment of a Palestinian state is a waste of time, Israel’s Channel 2 reported earlier Tuesday.

Netanyahu is said to have told his advisers behind closed doors that he would tell Trump that there’s no point in establishing Palestinian state in the current climate, Channel 2’s Udi Segal reported.

President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet at Trump Tower in September 2016.
President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet at Trump Tower in September 2016.

The past three US presidents have all publicly embraced a two-state solution as the means to achieving the coveted Middle East peace. Any deviation from that posture would mark a dramatic shift in American foreign policy.

Trump has yet to speak directly to the Palestinian leadership since taking office last month.

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