President Trump shifts stance on Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited this past Feb. 15 the US President at the White House since Trump’s election. During this meeting, the two main topics which were discussed by the state officials were Israel’s settlements in the West Bank, and the potential solutions to resolve the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Amongst those solutions comprise a one-state solution on one hand, and a two-party state solution on the other.

President Donald J. Trump said he “could live with” a one-state solution, thereby breaking the tradition of decades of US policy. However, he reserved the final decision to both countries, saying that the US would be “working very diligently” on building peace in the region, but that he would be “happy with whatever one [Israel and Palestine] choose.”

The President’s support for a potential “one-state solution” puts the state of Palestine at risk, given his strong relationship with Netanyahu. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reacted to this statement in Geneva and said that the two-party solution “must be protected from any attempt to withdraw from it or simply disregard it.” He then continued criticizing Israel’s settlement activities in the West Bank qualifying it as a “theft of occupied Palestinian lands.”

Even though Trump has long supported Israel’s activities in the West Bank during his presidential campaign, he shifted his point of view during the visit, warning that “[settlements] may not help” achieve peace in the region, and that he “would like to see [Israel] hold back on settlements a little bit.” Those actions have been condemned by the United Nations (UN), the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and with the skepticism of Trump on Israel’s actions, this adds another level pressure on Netanyahu’s administration.

However, Trump has not established a definite stance on either solutions, and has become a skeptic on the possibility for potential peace given the West Bank settlement contexts. What he has made very clear to Netanyahu, sitting by his side, and to the rest of the world is that “both sides will have to make compromise.”