In an interview with Reuters published on Thursday evening, President Donald Trump “stopped short of reasserting a US commitment to eventual Palestinian statehood,” and settled for reiterating he would be “satisfied with whatever makes both parties happy.”
When asked if he had abandoned the two-state idea, Trump answered, “No, I like the two-state solution […] but I ultimately like what the both parties like.”
“People have been talking about it for so many years now,” the president mused, admitting that “it so far hasn’t worked.” Nevertheless, he repeated, “I like this two-state solution, but I am satisfied with whatever both parties agree with.”
This was fairly consistent with Trump’s statement at his press conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu last week, when the president said, “I’m looking at two states and one state, and I like the one both parties like, I can live with either one.”
Back in March, 2016, in the heat of the presidential campaign, candidate Trump told the NY Times: “Basically I support a two-state solution on Israel. But the Palestinian Authority has to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. Have to do that. And they have to stop the terror, stop the attacks, stop the teaching of hatred, you know? The children, I sort of talked about it pretty much in the speech, but the children are aspiring to grow up to be terrorists. They are taught to grow up to be terrorists. And they have to stop. They have to stop the terror. They have to stop the stabbings and all of the things going on. And they have to recognize that Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. … And if they can’t, you’re never going to make a deal. One state, two states, it doesn’t matter: you’re never going to be able to make a deal.
“Now whether or not the Palestinians can live with that? You would think they could. It shouldn’t be hard except that the ingrained hatred is tremendous.”
He also told the Times, on the same occasion: “In order to negotiate a deal, I’d want to go in there as evenly as possible and we’ll see if we can negotiate a deal. But I would absolutely give that a very hard try to do. You know, a lot of people think that’s the hardest of all deals to negotiate. A lot of people think that. So, but I would say that I would have a better chance than anybody of making a deal. I’ll tell you one thing, people that I know from Israel, many people, many, many people, and almost everybody would love to see a deal on the side of Israel. … I’m not so sure that the other side can mentally, you know, get their heads around the deal, because the hatred is so incredible. Folks, I have to go.”