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Palestinians express mixed reactions to Trump’s shift from two-state solution

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Donald Trump became the first US President in recent years to suggest a shift in US foreign policy concerning the two-state solution during a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.

“I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” Trump said. “I can live with either one.”

Following the press conference, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s office issued a statement that affirmed Abbas’s “readiness to deal positively with the Trump administration to make peace,” but also insisted that future negotiations continue to follow the internationally-backed plan for the two-state solution.

“The Palestinian presidency stressed its commitment to the two-state solution and to the international law and international legitimacy in the way that secures ending the Israeli occupation and establish the Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital,” the statement said.

In a poll released on Thursday, the Palestinian Center for Policy & Survey Research found that 55 percent of Israelis and 44 percent of Palestinians support the two-state solution. Both groups showed a decline in their support since June, when 59 percent of Israelis and 51 percent of Palestinians reported supporting the solution. Yet, far more people prefer the two-state solution relative to a one-state.

Only 24 percent of Israelis and just over one-third of Palestinians polled supported a one-state solution.

Support for the two-state solution rose among Palestinians who described themselves as “not religious,” of which 64 percent of people supported the two-state solution, where 47 percent of those who were “somewhat religious” and 35 percent of religious respondents said they supported the two-state solution.

Among Israeli Jews, just under one-fifth of right wingers support two-states, but nearly 90 percent of Israelis who described themselves as left-wing support it.

Saeb Erekat, head of the Palestinian Liberation Office’s Negotiations Affairs Department, on Thursday said that the office would be willing to move away from the two-state solution, since the Palestinian’s support for the two-state solution began as a “Palestinian adoption of an international formula.”

However, Erekat stressed that the only way Palestinians could accept sharing one state was if Israel was willing to give up the notion of a Jewish state.

“Contrary to Netanyahu’s plan of one state and two systems — apartheid — the only alternative to two sovereign and democratic states on the 1967 border is one single secular and democratic state with equal rights for everyone, Christians, Muslims, and Jews, on all of historic Palestine,” he said.

Reuven Rivlin, the President of Israel, said on Monday during a conference that he supports the full annexation of the occupied West Bank, “applying sovereignty” to both territories, but only if the state were to give “full citizenship to all those living there.”

“There is no [separate] law for Israelis and for non-Israelis,” he said, adding that “it must be clear, if we extend sovereignty, the law must apply equally to all.”

The International Community

While more political leaders are becoming open to a potential shift in negotiations, the international community has expressed a strong commitment to the two-state solution.

In a press release summarizing his briefing to the Security Council on the Situation in the Middle East on Thursday, Nickolay Mladenov, the Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace Process, reiterated the international community’s view that two-states are the only option for the region.

“The two-state solution remains the only way to achieve the legitimate national aspirations of both peoples,” the Special Coordinator said, before calling again for the Israeli government to halt settlement expansions.

Following Trump and Netanyahu’s joint conference, Neoklis Sylikiotis, chairman of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with Palestine reiterated the parliament’s support for the two-state solution with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the 1967 borders, “living in peace alongside Israel.”

“The EU must exert pressure on Israel in order to put an end to its settlement, to lift the occupation and commit to a roadmap for peace and two-state solution,” Sylikiotis said. “We want peace for the Palestinian people, the Israeli people, and all the people of the Middle East”.

Meanwhile, the BBC reported that the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres “urged the international community to do everything it could to bring about a two-state solution.” According to the report, Guterres said there was no other option for resolving the conflict.

Sheren Khalel

Sheren Khalel is a freelance multimedia journalist who works out of Israel, Palestine and Jordan. She focuses on human rights, women's issues and the Palestine/Israel conflict. Khalel formerly worked for Ma'an News Agency in Bethlehem, and is currently based in Ramallah and Jerusalem. You can follow her on Twitter at @Sherenk.

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4 Responses

  1. Maghlawatan on February 16, 2017, 4:17 pm

    A Palestinian peasant said “the Jews have money but are stupid. We have no money but we are smart. 1 state means apartheid ya’ni”

  2. Mahmoud El-Yousseph on February 17, 2017, 8:17 am

    Bravo Sheren Khalel for such insightful article. President Trump said so much without saying anything substantial at all in a joint press conference with the Prime Minister of Israel. President Trump blamed the Palestinians for hating the Israelis as the reason of lack of peace. My friend Hanan Chehata from London, England responded eloquently to Trump’s bizarre claim in a Face Book post by stating:

    “Can you imagine swapping the word Palestinian for any other native people in this context and saying that the native community has to get rid of the hate for their occupiers and complaining that the native community is taught to hate their occupier from a young age… without addressing the occupation itself.’

    Additionally, President Trump failed to talk about the hate taught to Israelis from a young age as part of their school program. What about the Beitar soccer club that has never signed a player from Israel’s Arab population who are actually Palestinians. Bietar club has a long history of racism among its supporters, with a favorite chant being “Death to Arabs”. Israelis cleverly use the term Arabs when speaking of Palestinians as a way of not recognizing them.

    Perhaps the president should have also eluded to how illegal Jewish settlers celebrate during weddings by jumping and dancing while carrying guns and knives and stabbing pictures of an 18-month-old Palestinian child, Ali Dawabsheh. Baby Ali was burned to death in a July 3, 2015 arson attack that also killed his parents in West Bank village. The only survivor was Ali’s brother, 6 year old Ahmad who is still not fully recovered.

    I wonder if President Trump is aware that the current Israeli justice minister, Ayelet Shaked published on Face Book while serving as an Israeli law maker, a call for genocide of the Palestinians. She declared that “the entire Palestinian people is the enemy” and justifies their destruction, “including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.” It was a call for genocide because she called for the slaughter of Palestinian mothers who give birth to “little snakes.”

    That is the Israeli hate President Trump ignored. The continued Israeli military occupation of Palestine is the reason for absence of peace.

  3. Misterioso on February 17, 2017, 10:59 am

    America went to sleep and a self-adoring moron became president. 

    U.N. Envoy Says U.S. Still Backs Palestinian State
    FEB. 16, 2017


    UNITED NATIONS — “Twenty-four hours after President Trump swatted away at a broad international consensus on how to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians, his United Nations envoy sought to assure the world on Thursday that his administration supports Palestinian statehood but wants a ‘thinking out of the box’ approach.”

    “ ‘We absolutely support a two-state solution,’ the American ambassador, Nikki R. Haley, said in answer to a question after a United Nations Security Council meeting devoted to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

    • eljay on February 17, 2017, 11:15 am

      || Misterioso: America went to sleep and a self-adoring moron became president. … ||

      … “Twenty-four hours after President Trump swatted away at a broad international consensus on how to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians, his United Nations envoy sought to assure the world on Thursday that his administration supports Palestinian statehood but wants a ‘thinking out of the box’ approach.” …

      Zionists are happy with “thinking out[side] of the box” as long as Israel:
      – remains a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine; and
      – is absolved of its past and on-going (war) crimes and of its obligations under international law (incl. RoR).

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