NEW YORK — One of President-elect Donald Trump’s top advisers says the new administration will try to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but without pushing an agreement on either side.
“I think he’s going to support Israel in a way it hasn’t been supported in the Obama administration,” Jason Dov Greenblatt told The Times of Israel Wednesday, as the dust settled from Trump’s shock victory hours earlier.
“I think he’s going to try to help the Israelis achieve peace with the Palestinians. He’ll be there to guide them and not force peace upon them,” he said.
Over the course of the campaign, Trump has said he would seek to broker the elusive final status agreement to the conflict but has not explicitly endorsed a two-state solution.
Greenblatt said Trump would prioritize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but would only seek any initiative if the two sides indicated they were willing to reach an accommodation.
“He will make it a priority if the Israelis and Palestinians want to make it a priority,” he said. “He’s not going to force peace upon them, it will have to come from them.”
Greenblatt was responding to advice doled out recently by Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, that the next president should not make the conflict central to US policy in the region.
Last week, Trump’s other adviser on matters relating to the Jewish state told The Times of Israel the business mogul is willing to explore avenues outside the two-state framework. “A two-state solution is not a priority,” said David Friedman. “I don’t think he is wed to any particular outcome. A two-state solution is a way, but it’s not the only way.”
Greenblatt’s comments came as a number of right-wing Israeli politicians seized on Trump’s victory by calling on him to make good on his promises to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv.
The move would break with decades of precedent and put Washington at odds with nearly all UN member states, illustrating concerns over the foreign policy consequences of Trump’s presidency.
On Wednesday, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that Trump’s election meant the idea of a Palestinian state was finished.
“Trump’s victory is an opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state in the center of the country, which would hurt our security and just cause,” Bennett said in an apparent reference to the West Bank. “This is the position of the president-elect … The era of a Palestinian state is over.”
Greenblatt said he was unsurprised by Trump’s win, which shook up the political establishment. “I have known Donald for 20 years,” he said. “When he sets his heart and mind to something, he wins.”
AFP contributed to this report