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National Security Desk / February 15, 2017

Not Tied to Two-State Solution

Trump changes U.S. policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Just as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comes for a visit, Donald Trump’s administration announced that it would no longer seek peace in the Israel-Palestinian conflict via the two-state solution. A White House official stated, “A two-state solution that doesn’t bring peace is not a goal that anybody wants to achieve. Peace is the goal, whether it comes in the form of a two-state solution if that’s what the parties want or something else, if that’s what the parties want, we’re going to help them.”

This action by the Trump administration is significant in that it’s a break with decades of U.S. policy agreed upon by previous Democrat and Republican administrations. Clearly, Trump is determined to have a much different relationship with Israel than did Barack Obama, who was all about forcing concessions from Israel and who routinely disrespected Netanyahu.

Trump appears to want to change U.S. policy toward Israel to that of a supportive partner rather than that of an impartial referee. In other words, Trump seems to believe more in letting the Israelis and Palestinians take the lead in working out their own a solution as opposed to taking the roll of a parent in setting the ground rules for the relationship. Whether or not this policy shift leads to long-term peace only time will tell, but this change should help shore up a U.S.-Israel alliance that had become increasingly strained under Obama.

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