The White House has apparently broken with the Obama Administration’s mantra regarding Israeli-Arab peace, which former Secretary of State John Kerry best phrased last December, “The two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.” Speaking a day before Donald Trump’s meeting with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a White House official said the US will not insist on a two-state solution to the conflict.
“A two-state solution that doesn’t bring peace is not our goal that anybody wants to achieve,” the official said at a White House briefing, according to several media sources. “Peace is the goal, whether it comes in the form of a two-state solution if that’s what the parties want or something else, if that’s what the parties want, we’re going to help them.”
The official was asked if peace could only be achieved through a two-state solution, and said the US would not “impose” a two-state solution on the Israeli-Arab conflict. “Maybe, maybe not,” the official said, adding “It’s something the two sides have to agree to. It’s not for us to impose that vision. But I think we’ll find out more about that tomorrow.”
On Jan. 18, 2017, at his last news conference as president, Obama said he did not see how the conflict “gets resolved in a way that maintains Israel as both Jewish and a democracy,” adding, “Because if you do not have two states, then in some form or fashion you are extending an occupation, functionally you end up having one state in which millions of people are disenfranchised and operate as second class residents.”
On Tuesday, the NY Times ran a rare op-ed by the Hebron community’s spokesperson Yishai Fleisher listing at least five solutions that do not involve the two-state path yet maintain a Jewish and democratic Israel.