Trump suggests two-state solution no longer viable, bucking longtime US policy position

The reason, Trump claimed, is that Palestinian ‘children grow up and they’re taught to hate Jewish people at a level that nobody thought was possible.’

By Jack Elbaum, The Algemeiner

Former US President Donald Trump has suggested he no longer believes in a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a significant pivot away from what has largely been a consensus position on the conflict among US politicians for decades.

“There was a time when I thought two states could work. Now I think two states is going to be very, very tough,” Trump said in an interview with Time magazine that was published on Tuesday.

“I also think you have fewer people that liked the idea,” he added. “You had a lot of people that liked the idea four years ago. Today, you have far fewer people that like that idea.”

The reason, Trump claimed, is that Palestinian “children grow up and they’re taught to hate Jewish people at a level that nobody thought was possible.”

Palestinian textbooks in both Gaza and the West Bank have come under fire for teaching children in school to hate Israel while fostering antisemitism and support for terrorism.

Trump explained that the late Sheldon Adelson — a major donor to Republican and Israel-related causes — had made a similar argument to him in the past, but the former president did not always buy it.

“And I had a friend, a very good friend, Sheldon Adelson, who felt that it was impossible to make a deal because the level of hatred was so great. And I think it was much more so on one side than the other, but the level of hatred of Jewish people was so great, and taught from the time they were in kindergarten and before,” Trump said.

Asked if he felt that same way, Trump said, “I disagreed with it. But so far, he [Adelson] hasn’t been wrong.”

The Biden administration has been a stalwart supporter of the two-state solution. During his State of the Union address earlier this year, US President Joe Biden said, “As we look to the future, the only real solution is a two-state solution.”

“There is no other path that guarantees Israel’s security and democracy,” he argued. “There is no other path that guarantees Palestinians can live with peace and dignity. There is no other path that guarantees peace between Israel and all of its Arab neighbors, including Saudi Arabia.”

In a statement to The Algemeiner, the Jewish Democratic Council of America said, “Trump’s comments reiterated that Republicans have abandoned support for a two-state solution, the best and only path to ensure Israel’s future as a secure, Jewish, and democratic state. The GOP went as far as voting unanimously in 2016 to remove all mention of a two-state solution from their platform.”

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“Trump is dangerously out of touch with Jewish Americans, who strongly support a two-state solution. His policies are bad for America and bad for our allies, including Israel,” it argued.

Taking a slightly different approach, Democratic Majority for Israel told The Algemeiner that while it “believe[s] in a two-state solution,” it also recognizes “the road to achieving that goal is long and difficult.”

“Palestinian leadership’s continuing rejection of a Palestinian state if it means recognizing Israel, along with Palestinian incitement and support for terrorism are all serious obstacles to peace that must be overcome,” it said.

On the other hand, Sam Markstein, the Republican Jewish Coalition’s national political director, told The Algemeiner that Trump “clearly agrees with us that it’s a terrible mistake for the Biden administration to be pushing Israel to accede to the establishment of a Palestinian state while there’s a war on and there’s no genuinely peace-minded Palestinian leaders to put in charge of such a state.”

The proportion of Israelis who support a two-state solution has declined from 61 percent in 2012 to only 25 percent in 2023, according to Gallup. Meanwhile, support among Palestinians last year declined to 24 percent, down from a high of 59 percent in 2012. Young Israelis and Palestinians are less likely to support a two-state solution than their older counterparts.

However, it remains unclear whether there is a credible alternative to the two-state solution as an end-game in the conflict that would not disenfranchise or displace either Israelis or Palestinians.

Trump’s latest comments add to growing uncertainty over how he may approach policy regarding Israel in a possible second term. Last month, he deflected when asked if he supported Israel “100 percent.” He also said Israel had to “finish up your war” against the Hamas terror group and “get on to peace, to get on to a normal life for Israel, and for everybody else.”

In the Time interview, Trump also argued that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “rightfully has been criticized for what took place on Oct. 7” and that he has not taken proper action to secure the release of the hostages.

Hamas launched the current war with its Oct. 7 invasion of southern Israel, where Palestinian terrorists massacred 1,200 people and kidnapped 253 others as hostages, taking them back to Gaza.

“You know, they talk about all of these hostages. I don’t believe these people are able or even wanting to take care of people as negotiations. I don’t — I think the hostages are going to be far fewer than people think, which is a very sad thing,” Trump said.