Netanyahu and Clinton.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
PHILADELPHIA -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu still believes the best outcome in the conflict with the Palestinians is a two-state solution, in which a demilitarized Arab state recognizes the Jewish state of Israel, his envoy to the US, Ron Dermer, said on Thursday.
His comments come amid a significant shift in language in the Republican Party Platform, adopted last week in Ohio, which now intentionally omits any reference to a two-state settlement and suggests leaving Israel to its own devices to end the conflict.
Speaking at a lunch on the sidelines of the Democratic National Convention, Dermer– a close confidante of the prime minister– said that Israel "is prepared to have a negotiated settlement."
But what Israel is not prepared for, he said, is to settle for an agreement "that will continue the conflict with Israel."
"He believes the best solution is a demilitarized Palestinian state" recognizing the Jewish state, Dermer said, responding to the change in Republican language.
But he added: "I think the overarching principle here is to respect the sovereign decisions of a fellow democracy."
That is the thrust of the proposals made by advisers to Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, who suggest the United States should pull back from its historic role as arbiter in the decades-old conflict. Should Israel's government ultimately endorse a one-state path, Trump believes that path should be respected.
Dermer offered praise and thanks for the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, who brokered a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza while she was secretary of state.
"I give her a great deal of credit for what she was able to do at that time," Dermer said. "Things could have gone very bad."
Dermer pushed back against criticism at the event of Israel's continued settlement activity in lands the US believes must be included in a future Palestine, should a two-state solution ever come to pass.
"There is no reason, conceptually, why Jews should not be able to live in a future Palestinian state," he said.