I watched with great interest the press conference between President Donald J. Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu (below). This press conference will go down in history as the one that ends one chapter in U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and opens a new chapter that is about “a much bigger deal, a much more important deal” as President Trump stated.
It was clear to me that President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu are thinking outside the box.
Joel B. Pollak in an article titled “Restored: 5 Ways Trump, Netanyahu Improved U.S. – Israel Relations” listed the following key policy changes involving national security and the Middle East:
- The two-state solution is no longer the only option.
- The U.S. opposes new settlements, but accepts existing ones.
- The U.S. and Israel will aim at a regional peace involving Arab states.
- Both countries are now focused on “radical Islamic terror.”
- The relationships between the U.S. and Israeli governments are warm, and personal.
I want to focus on the first point made by Pollak that the two-state solution is “no longer the only option.”
Let me quote from the full transcript of what these two world leaders said:
- PRESIDENT TRUMP: So I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. (Laughter.) I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one. I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two. But honestly, if Bibi and if the Palestinians — if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.
- PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: But rather than deal with labels [two-state solution], I want to deal with substance. It’s something I’ve hoped to do for years in a world that’s absolutely fixated on labels and not on substance. So here’s the substance: There are two prerequisites for peace that I laid out two years — several years ago, and they haven’t changed.
First, the Palestinians must recognize the Jewish state. They have to stop calling for Israel’s destruction. They have to stop educating their people for Israel’s destruction. Second, in any peace agreement, Israel must retain the overriding security control over the entire area west of the Jordan River… Jews are not foreign colonialists in Judea.
I suggest that the two-state solution is dead and gone. Here is the Israeli State solution.
It is clear from the statements made that President Trump has turned U.S. – Israel relations and with it Middle East policy on its ear.
The new policy envisions a state of Israel that goes from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan river. The final nail in the coffin of any two-state solution was hammered home when President Trump was asked about moving the American embassy to Jerusalem. The President said, “As far as the embassy moving to Jerusalem, I’d love to see that happen. We’re looking at it very, very strongly. We’re looking at it with great care — great care, believe me. And we’ll see what happens. Okay?”
EDITORS NOTE: The video of the full President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu news conference is courtesy of YouHotNews.