Middle East/North Africa

Bush says two-state solution ‘very difficult’ at this stage of Israeli-Palestinian conflict

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Former President George W. Bush on Wednesday said a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be “very difficult at this stage,” as violence between Israel and the militant group Hamas has escalated in the past week.

“I think it’s very difficult at this stage … I wish, obviously, all of us should hope there’s not violence, but what I think you’re seeing playing out is Iranian influence targeted toward Israel, and trying to break up alliances that were formed in the previous administration called the Abraham Accords,” Bush told Fox News in an interview about his new book “Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants.”

The Abraham Accords refers to the peace agreement negotiated under the Trump administration between Israel and the United Arab Emirates to normalize relations between the countries.

Violence broke out between Israel and Hamas early last week following Israeli police action at Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam. Tensions were exacerbated by an impending, and since-postponed, Supreme Court hearing on potential eviction orders in a predominately Palestinian neighborhood in Jerusalem.

Hamas began firing rockets into Israel on May 10, followed by Israeli retaliation.

Bush said that if the Abraham Accords “hold,” establishing peace will be an easier feat to accomplish.

“Once the sit-in settles down, and if those Abraham Accords hold, it will make it easier to establish peace,” Bush said. “But right now, those who don’t want peace are provoking and attacking Israel, and Israel is, of course, responding for national security reasons.”

President Biden on Wednesday, according to a readout from the White House, told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he expects a “significant de-escalation” in the violence between Israel and Hamas by Wednesday to put the two sides “on the path to a cease-fire.”

Netanyahu, however, responded by saying Israel is “determined to continue” military operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Bush, when asked about the Israeli-Palestinian violence, said what “you’re seeing playing out is Iranian influence targeted toward Israel.”

When pushed on how the U.S. should engage with Tehran, Bush urged officials to recognize that Iran’s influence is “dangerous for world peace.”

“I think the best approach with regard to Iran is to understand that their influence is dangerous for world peace, that they are very much involved with extremist movements in Lebanon and Syria and Yemen, and they are aiming to spread their influence,” Bush said.

“Any deal that is done has got to not only focus on its nuclear capabilities, but also its influence in the Middle East … And you know, any deal, you’ve got to keep in mind the dangers of an aggressive Iran to our allies, and to stability, so it has to be a comprehensive look,” he continued.

Tags Benjamin Netanyahu Joe Biden

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