United States President Donald Trump is considering hosting an Arab leadership summit in Washington to discuss peace and stability in the region, the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat reported on Thursday.
The Al-Hayat report, based on a “reliable source,” did not provide any details other than the claim that Washington was examining the idea of hosting such a summit.
During a press conference Wednesday at the White House between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Trump, the two leaders voiced support for a regional approach to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Netanyahu, who did not explicitly renounce his own commitment to a two-state solution but avoid mentioning the idea of Palestinian statehood, called for a “regional” approach that included Arab states. He noted that he would be discussing such an initiative with Trump.
In response, Trump said the two have been discussing a regional deal, and noted it “would take in many, many countries.”
“I didn’t know you were going to be mentioning it, but now that you did, it’s a terrific thing,” Trump said. The two men’s comments came amid renewed speculation that Sunni Arab states would be prepared to work with Israel in the face of regional opposition to Iran.
Earlier in the press conference, Trump bucked America’s longstanding commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” Trump said.
On February 6, the Palestinian news agency Ma’an, quoting what it called knowledgeable sources, said the US position on the Palestinians was shifting following pressure from Arab leaders, including a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan, a phone call with the Saudi King Salman bin Abd Al-Aziz Al Saud, and ongoing contacts between Trump and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.
Trump is expected to meet with Abdullah and Sissi in March before the next Arab League Summit in Amman, according to the Ma’an report.
Following the press conference in Washington on Wednesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he would continue to work with the US administration to advance the two-state solution.
Wasel Abu Yousef, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee, told The Times of Israel, “We as Palestinians believe there is no other solution [than the two-state solution] that is practical or realistic.”
Eric Cortellessa and Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.