Speaking at press conference with Benjamin Netanyahu, US president says he is looking at multiple options for peace

Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump at a White House press conference on Wednesday.
Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump at a White House press conference on Wednesday. 

In an apparent break with two decades of US commitment to closely shepherding the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Donald Trump has said he was unconcerned whether an eventual deal involved the creation of a Palestinian state or a single state.

“So I’m looking at two states and one state,” Trump said at a joint press conference with the visiting Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. “And I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like.”

Trump’s remarks appeared to dismantle one of the key pillars of the US-led peace efforts since before the signing of the Oslo accords, which envisioned the creation of a Palestinian state alongside the Jewish one.

“The United States will encourage peace and really a great peace deal,” the US president said. “We will be working on it very, very diligently. But it is the parties themselves who must directly negotiate such an agreement.”

“To be honest, if Bibi [Netanyahu] and the Palestinians, if Israel and the Palestinians are happy – I’m happy with the one they like the best.”

The comments appeared to suggest that while the US would assist in any negotiations, it would not lead them as it has done previously, leaving the core talks – moribund since 2014 – to the two sides.

Trump was confirming remarks made late on Tuesday by a White House official who said the US was looking at multiple options for a peace deal. Those remarks prompted an angry response from the Palestinians, who were caught by surprise full story