Palestinian leaders had a warning for President Trump: Do not deny us our dream of an independent state.
When Donald Trump said he might be willing to “live with” other outcomes than the widely accepted “two-state solution,” alarm bells went off at Palestinian Authority headquarters.
“I am looking at two states or one state, and I like the one that both parties like,” Trump said.
The comments came during the first face-to-face talks between Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since the November election, The Washington Post is reporting.
It also followed disclosures that CIA chief Mike Pompeo held secret talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank on Tuesday, according to a senior Palestinian official.
Netanyahu’s right-wing government has been pressuring him to abandon the two-state solution, which he officially backed in 2009.
“It’s something the two sides have to agree to. It’s not for us to impose that vision,” a Trump official said Tuesday. “A two-state solution that doesn’t bring peace is not our goal,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the potential U.S. policy change.
A top Palestinian official said abandoning a two-state compromise would be a “disaster and a tragedy for both Israelis and Palestinians.”
Saeb Erekat said it was the Israeli leaders and supporters of the 600,000 Israelis living in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem who were opposed to a Palestinian state.
Erekat said the alternative to the two state vision was “a single democratic secular state for Jews, Muslims and Christians,” with full rights for all. Such a single state, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, would hold almost equal numbers of Jewish and Muslim voters. Israelis and American supporters of Israel fear that a single state would either undermine the democratic or Jewish nature of Israel.
For most involved in the process, a two-state solution has been declared practically dead. But many still think it is the region’s best chance for Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace.
U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, speaking in Cairo on Wednesday, warned, “There is no alternative solution for the situation between the Palestinians and Israelis, other than the solution of establishing two states, and we should do all that can be done to maintain this.”