US President Donald Trump’s bombshell mention of the possibility of a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was a tactic to pressure the Palestinians to accept a deal on two states, Alan Dershowitz told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
Dershowitz said the Trump press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “very positive... I was happy to see the obvious camaraderie” – but that the media misreported what the president said.
“Trump said he would not object to a one-state solution if both parties supported it. He did not say he would impose a one-state solution. And the Palestinians won’t accept it. I think he put it out there to pressure the Palestinians,” the renowned legal scholar said.
He explained that Trump’s message for the Palestinians was: “Don’t count on the UN, the International Criminal Court, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, the EU or the Russians – if you want a two-state solution...negotiate it in Ramallah or Jerusalem.”
This is a “shift from the Obama administration, which only pressured Israel and never pressured the Palestinians,” Dershowitz said.
Dershowitz will be a speaker at The Jerusalem Post Conference
in New York on May 7.
Moving on to Trump’s brief statement that Netanyahu should “hold off on settlements for a bit,” Dershowitz said, “I think it was a good thing, because it gives Bibi the ability to push back on his right-wing coalition members to say he can’t expand the settlements.
“Bibi has said he wants to build up, not out, to build within the settlement blocs, not in new areas,” he said, regarding his understanding of Netanyahu’s views on the settlements.
“He has been pressured by [Bayit Yehudi chairman] Naftali Bennett and others to change that. I think he welcomed that statement by Trump to stop building,” he added.
Dershowitz also said he supports moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to west Jerusalem, noting that the Palestinians already effectively have a US embassy in east Jerusalem in the form of the US Consulate. It would be an appropriate answer to December’s UN Resolution, he continued, which changed the status quo regarding the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter in the Old City.