Despite PA pressure, State Department refuses to commit to two-states

By
August 24, 2017 18:43

A US delegation on the ground seeking to salvage peace talks now faces increasing pressure to take a stand regarding the two-state solution.

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Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu and Jared Kushner at the King David Hotel, May 22 2017.

Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu and Jared Kushner at the King David Hotel, May 22 2017.. (photo credit:GPO)

WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration is resisting pressure to clarify its stance on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, amid warnings from Palestinian leaders that their patience is running out.

Since the beginning of Donald Trump's term in office, the White House has declined to outline what solution the president envisions for an end to the storied conflict. Pressed on whether he would uphold the US' longstanding commitment to two states for two peoples, Trump declined back in February: "I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like," he said, standing beside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one."

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Heather Nauert, the State Department's spokesman, repeated on Wednesday that the administration's position remains unchanged.

"We are not going to state what the outcome has to be – it has to be workable to both sides," Nauert said. "And I think, really, that’s the best view as to not really bias one side over the other, to make sure that they can work through it."

A State Department official toldThe Jerusalem Post that Nauert's use of the word "bias" was unprepared, and that she meant to say the administration supports whatever outcome the parties jointly agree upon.

"It’s been many, many decades, as you well know, that the parties have not been able to come to any kind of good agreement and sustainable solution to this," Nauert added. "So we leave it up to them to be able to work that through."

Yet a US delegation on the ground seeking to salvage peace talks between the two sides now faces increasing pressure to take a stand, with Palestinian Authority leadership, in particular, insistent that Trump recognize the two-state solution as the only viable path forward for peace.

Presidents of both parties have called for a two-state solution to the conflict over several decades.

Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law turned senior adviser; Jason Greenblatt, his special representative for international negotiations; and Dina Powell, a deputy national security adviser, are touring the region this week with Middle East peace as their focus. On Thursday they held meetings with Netanyahu and are scheduled to meet as well with PA leadership.

A readout of the delegation's meeting with Israeli government officials offered no new details.


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