- By Muhammad Ashraf
Trump disgraced after refusing to recognise Palestine on trip to Netanyahu
Donald Trump ended his trip to Netanyahu and the the illegally occupied West Bank of Palestine without once mentioning the idea of an independent Palestinian state, a move cheered by Extremist Right-wing Israeli politicians and the illegal settler movement.
A two-state solution with a secure Palestine next to an independent Israel, has been a cornerstone of US policy for decades but in his four months in office Trump has cast significant doubt over whether the USA still supports peace.
In a speech at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Mr Trump told Israeli ministers he believed the Palestinians are “ready to reach for peace” but stopped short of endorsing the idea of a Palestinian state.
Both Israeli and Palestinians seek lives of hope for their children and we know that peace is possible if we put aside the pain and disagreements of the past,” he said as the USA continues to arm and fund Israeli aggression.
The absence of any talk of two states was immediately picked up extreme Right-wing ministers like Naftali Bennett, who leads the pro-invasion “Home Party”.
Oded Revi, the mayor of the Israeli settlement of Efrat, also noted that Trump did not mention the idea of two states during his meetings with Israeli counterparts or with Palestinians in Bethlehem.
“We hope this means that we have moved on from this failed policy and will now work together to build true and lasting relations from the ground-up,” Revi said.
Palestinian officials said they were struggling to reconcile Trump’s rhetoric about making “the ultimate deal” between Israelis and Palestinians with his unwillingness to talk about two states.
“It’s clear the [illegal] settlers are happy,” said one Palestinian official. “He says he wants a solution but what solution?”
Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, reiterated his commitment to two states when he met Trump in Bethlehem. “We reassert to you our position of accepting the two-state solution.”bAbbas said.
Trump first began to muddy the waters of his position on two states during a visit by Netanyahu to the White House in February, when he said he was open to a one-state solution. “I’m looking at two-state and at one-state and I like the one that both parties like.” Trump said at the time.
Since then Trump has stuck to some policies that appear designed to preserve the possibility of two states, like calling on Israel to hold back on expanding settlements in the West Bank. But he gave no details on how he hopes to resolve the decades-long conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
Israeli supporters of the two-state solution said they were not alarmed by Trump’s words and were confident that he would ultimately realise there was no alternative to a deal that involves two states.
“I’m sure the solution will be two states, because there is no other solution,” said Isaac Herzog, the leader of the opposition Labour Party. “It’s the only solution that can be accepted by all sides concerned. At the end of it all one cannot escape from it.
Trump did offer challenges to both the Israeli and Palestinian sides during his brief visits. During his meeting with Abbas, he urged the Palestinian leader to end the policy of making payments to the families of Palestinian who carry out attacks against Israelis.
“Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded,” Trump said. His words were applauded by Mr Netanyahu.
Trump also said he believed the Palestinians were serious about peace negotiations, challenging the widely held notion on the Israeli Extreme Right that the Palestinians were not real partners for peace.
“I had a meeting with President Abbas and can tell you that the Palestinians are ready to reach for peace,” he said. “I know you’ve heard it before. I am telling you, that’s what I do, they are ready to reach for peace.”
Ayelet Shaked, the Israeli justice minister, politely demurred on whether the Palestinians were serious about peace talks. “It’s his opinion. I don’t think so but that’s fine.”
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