The new chairman of the Senate’s Middle East subcommittee just returned from a trip to the region saying that “no one” he met gave an option other than the old formula.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) returned from meeting with officials of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Jordan saying he thought the only way forward to a peace agreement is the two-state solution, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported Wednesday.
Since “no one articulated to us anywhere in the region an idea or a proposal for something other than a two-state solution,” he told reporters, he said he doesn’t see any other alternative.
Senator Romney, who had campaigned for president in 2012, said that those he and his colleagues on the Senate subcommittee spoke with during their Mideast visit painted a grim picture. specifically for Israel, without a two-state solution.
“They described what would occur if there were not a two-state solution, and that would be an Israel — or a one state — an Israel where you have 6.6 million Palestinians and 6.6 million Jews and the Palestinians have larger families than the Jews, and so over time it would become predominantly Palestinian,” he said.
However, Israel and the U.S. have signaled they are moving away from the two-state paradigm. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke during the recently concluded election campaign of annexing parts of Judea and Samaria, land which had been viewed as making up a future Palestinian State. Similarly, White House adviser Jared Kushner, one of the main drafters of the U.S. peace plan set to be unveiled in June, has indicated that the old, two-state formula is not included.
During an April 23 conference, Kushner said, “I think that if people focus on the old traditional talking points, we will never make progress,” adding, “We’ve taken what I think is an unconventional approach. We’ve studied the past efforts and how they failed and why they failed… We’ve tried to do it a bit differently.”
Sen. Romney spoke cautiously regarding the latest American attempt to find a plan for Israel and the PA, President Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century.”
“I hope that the framework that comes out is one that leads to that kind of fruitful discussion” he said. “But time will tell.”
Though hailing from the same party, Senator Romney is not a great fan of President Trump. He voiced sharp criticism after the release of the Mueller report, which ultimately cleared the president of Russian collusion.
Sen. Romney tweeted at the time, “Even so, I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the President.”