The Israeli right on Wednesday hailed the US breaking with 25 years of commitment to the two-state policy solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying there was now a “new reality.”
“The Palestinian flag was today lowered from the mast and replaced with the Israeli flag,” said Education Minister Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home party, who has been pushing for Israel to annex a large part of the West Bank.
“The Palestinians already have two states: in Gaza and in Jordan. There is no need for a third one,” he said.
Bennett also congratulated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his leadership and courage in “fortifying Israel’s security and sovereignty. Now we must look ahead and shape a new strategic approach in light of the new reality.”
Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog said it was “sad and shameful” to see Netanyahu “twisting and turning just to avoid the idea of separating from the Palestinians in the form of two states.
“Every Israeli should be concerned tonight about the very concept of one state between the sea to the Jordan, which means no Jewish state. This is a very dangerous disaster and we will fight it in every way possible,” the opposition leader said.
At a meeting in the White House between US President Donald Trump and Netanyahu, Trump said he was no longer committed to a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
“I’m looking at two states and one state, and I like the one that both parties like,” he said. “The United States will encourage a peace, and really a great peace deal,” said Trump, and added that the matter was “important to me personally.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely from Netanyahu’s Likud party said Trump’s remarks “bring tidings of a new era and the opening of the idea of a regional solution.”
“I praise the fact that for the first time in 25 years the Americans want to think again and respect Israeli interests, as decided by the people of Israel,” she said, referring to the signing of the Oslo accords in 1991, which recognized the Palestinian Authority as the representative of the Palestinian people.
Likud Science Minister Ofir Akunis also said the evening marks the end of the two-state solution.
“This is the most important day for those who love the country of Israel,” he tweeted. He added that Trump understands that the two-state solution won’t bring peace in the Middle East.
Former foreign minister and peace negotiator Tzipi Livni meanwhile found a way to praise Trump despite his statement about the end of the two state solution.
“This is a president who speaks about peace. It makes me happy that he uses the term ‘deal.’ He says, ‘It’s important to me,’ he doesn’t say, ‘Do whatever you want.’”
In contrast, other left-wing lawmakers condemned the apparent demise of the two state solution.
“The extreme right won tonight. The State of Israel has lost. Netanyahu is leading us to a dual-nation state, while running from the two-state [solution] which is in Israel’s interest,” Zionist Union MK Erel Margalit wrote on Twitter.
Joint (Arab) List MK Ahmad Tibi sarcastically tweeted that he was “beginning preparations to run for the head of the one state.” He told CNN that if Netanyahu wants a one-state solution it has to be one with full democracy.
And if there is a single, fully democratic state, he said, “I welcome it and I will run for prime minister and defeat Netanyahu.” He said that Arabs and some Israelis would vote for him “and Netanyahu will lose.”