Trump discusses peace without calling for a Palestinian state

Trump radiated optimism towards an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement but left no clear indication of how he plans to bring to it fruition, including no mention of a Palestinian state.

US President Donald Trump, in several speeches throughout his two-day visit to Israel, notably did not endorse an independent Palestinian state.

Trump and Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas discussed the prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians during a press conference in Bethlehem on Tuesday. While the US president called for the resumption of peace talks, he notably stopped short of endorsing the idea of a Palestinian state.

Trump spoke in general terms about his belief that the time is ripe to reach a deal, but made no mention of a two-state solution.

Oded Revivi, chief foreign envoy of the Council of Judea and Samaria, praised Trump’s statements, saying, “The president didn’t mention two states in his Bethlehem statements, just peace. We hope this means that we have moved on from this failed policy and will now work together to build true and lasting peace from the ground up.”

In general, Trump markedly avoided all of the thorny issues that have stymied peace efforts for decades, such as the “settlements” – i.e. Jewish communities – in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria . Aides said the approach was purposeful.

Trump: Palestinians ‘Ready to Reach for Peace’

In a speech at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, he said the Palestinians were “ready to reach for peace,” but did not elaborate.

“Peace doesn’t always have to mean Israel severing part of its land and handing it over to its enemies,” Education Minister Naftali Bennett, chair of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party, told The Telegraph. “That doesn’t bring peace, that brings misery.”

In a sense, Trump’s avoidance of the two-state issue falls in line with statements he made in February during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington. When asked about the two-state solution, Trump said he would not rule out any option, saying, in a break from decades-old US policy, that he was “looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like.”

Speaking at the Prime Minister’s residence Tuesday, while hosting Trump, Netanyahu said he looked forward to “working closely” with the Trump administration to advance peace in the region, “because you [Trump] have noted so succinctly that common dangers are turning former enemies into partners.”

The Israeli leader was referring to the reported change in the stance of Sunni Arab states in the Middle East. With Iran as a common enemy, they appear to be shifting away towards a possible working relationship with Israel.

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Trump left Israel on Tuesday extolling the prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement but leaving no clear indication of how he plans to bring to it fruition.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

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