One State Or Two Is Fine, Trump Says — Signaling Major Shift on Israel Policy

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump abruptly reversed decades of U.S. policy toward Israel on Wednesday by dropping a two-state-state solution as a goal of peace talks."I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like," Trump said at a White House news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "I can live with either one. I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two but honestly... if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I'm happy with the one they like the best."The international community and the Palestinians themselves have long embraced a two-state approach to end decades of conflict. The two-state approach has been central to U.S. policy under presidents of both parties since 2001 and Netanyahu has purported to advocate it since 2009 -- though Israelis and Palestinians blame each other for actions that hamper progress.Netanyahu, standing with Trump in the East Room of the White House, argued that for Israel, the key demands are Palestinian acceptance of Israel's right to exist in peace, and Israeli control of all territory west of the Jordan River.Palestinians claim much of that territory, however. Trump expressed no objection to this demand, at least in public.When it comes to two states, Netanyahu said, the details matter. "A state that doesn't recognize the Jewish state? A state that basically is open for attack again Israel? ...Are we talking about Costa Rica? Are we talking about another Iran?"In Israel, the right wing greeted Trump's policy shift with cheers.Israel's Jewish Home Party, which wants to annex occupied lands, called it a "new era." Naftali Bennett, head of the pro-settler party and a leading opponent of Palestinian statehood, tweeted in Hebrew that the "Palestinian flag was removed from the staff and replaced with an Israeli flag.""A new era. New ideas. No need for 3rd Palestinian state beyond Jordan & Gaza," tweeted Bennett, a partner in Netanyahu's government.  Continue reading...

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