US will not show ‘bias’ by supporting 2-state solution before talks

Faced with an ultimatum from the Palestinians to declare a two-state solution within 45 days, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the US refuses to demonstrate “bias” by taking sides ahead of negotiations between the two sides.

The Trump administration is apparently rejecting demands from the Palestinians to commit to the two-state solution in advance of any peace negotiations.

Trump’s senior adviser, Jared Kushner, arrived in the Middle East with a delegation to try and jumpstart the peace process. They met Thursday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and will also hold talks with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and other Arab nations.

President Donald Trump has agreed with Netanyahu that there should be no preconditions. However, the Palestinians are expected to give an ultimatum to the Kushner team stating that unless progress is made within 45 days on launching talks with the Israelis, Abbas will no longer remain committed to the US mediation. Furthermore, in that case, the PA could turn to an alternative plan to push for unilateral United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the US refuses to demonstrate “bias” by taking sides in advance.

“We are not going to state what the outcome has to be workable to both sides. That’s the best view as to not really bias one side over the other, to make sure that they can work through it,” she stated on Wednesday.

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Despite the seeming obstacles, Kushner and Netanyahu both expressed optimism on the possibility of successful negotiations.

“The president is very committed to achieving a solution here that will be able to bring prosperity and peace to all people in this area, and we really appreciate the commitment of the prime minister and his team to engaging very thoughtfully and respectfully in the way that the president has asked them to do so,” Kushner said Thursday after meeting with the Israeli leader.

“The relationship between Israel and America is stronger than ever and we really thank Prime Minister Netanyahu for his leadership and his partnership,” he added.

“We have a lot of things to talk about: how to advance peace, stability and security in our region – prosperity too. And I think all of them are within our reach,” Netanyahu said.

By: Adina Katz, World Israel News