Trump voices support for two-state solution in Middle East

Trump voices support for two-state solution in Middle East
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades MORE on Wednesday voiced support for a two-state solution between Palestinians and Israel to resolve decades of conflict between the two.

“I like two-state solution,” Trump told reporters at a bilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

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However, when pushed if his long-awaited plan to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would include that solution, the president demurred.

“You just heard me right? OK. So, that's enough questions from you. Is that right?” Trump responded.

When asked about a possible Mideast peace deal, Trump said he expects to have something in the next “two to three to four months.”

“We’re working along on that,” he said.

“I really believe something will happen. It is a dream of mine to be able to get that done prior to the end of my first term,” he added.

While on the campaign trail, Trump called a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the “ultimate deal.”

Trump's latest comments stand in contrast to his remarks in February 2017, when he dropped the U.S.'s longstanding insistence that Middle East peace requires a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

“So I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” Trump said after a meeting at the White House with Netanyahu. “I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one.”

Trump since taking office has taken multiple steps that Palestinians have criticized as being unhelpful to advancing peace negotiations. 

He announced in December that the U.S. would move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognize that city as Israel’s capital, reversing decades of U.S. policy.

Palestinians have long demanded that East Jerusalem would have to be the capital of a future Palestinian state in a two-state solution.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas responded to the embassy move by declaring that he would not enter U.S.-led negotiations “in any way, shape or form.” 

It was also reported last month that Trump intends to cut all U.S. funding for the United Nations agency that dispenses aid to Palestinian refugees over its concerns on the number of refugees recognized by the organization.

"[T]here’s an endless number of refugees that continue to get assistance, but more importantly, the Palestinians continue to bash America,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyHaley: Dylann Roof 'hijacked' Confederate flag Trump: Kellyanne Conway 'must have done some bad things' to 'crazy' husband Trump says Pence will remain on 2020 ticket: 'He's our man 100 percent' MORE said to The Washington Post. 

“Where is Saudi Arabia? Where is the United Arab Emirates? Where is Kuwait?” she added. “Do they not care enough about Palestinians to go and give money to make sure these kids are taken care of?”

Abbas responded by saying the Trump administration had proposed an “empty plan.”

“After using humanitarian aid to blackmail and pressure the Palestinian leadership to submit to the empty plan known as ‘the deal of the century,’ the Trump administration plans to commit an immoral scandal against Palestinian refugees by giving itself the right to abolish [their] historical rights,” Abbas responded.

Trump’s pick for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has expressed hostility to a two-state solution and has backed Palestinian settlements that riddle the West Bank, which critics say could render a two-state solution geographically impossible.