Views on the Trump-Netanyahu meeting
American commentator Prof Alan Dershowitz, in the Jerusalem Post: The time has come for the US to tell the Palestinians that they must negotiate with Israel if they want a Palestinian state, and must agree to end the conflict. President Donald Trump raised eyebrows when he mentioned the possibility of a one-state solution. The context was ambiguous and no one can know for sure what message he was intending to convey. One possibility is that he was telling the Palestinian leadership that if they want a two-state solution, they have to do something. They have to come to the negotiating table with the Israelis and make the kinds of painful sacrifices that will be required from both sides for a peaceful resolution to be achieved. Put most directly, the Palestinians must earn the right to a state. They are not simply entitled to statehood.
Dov Waxman, professor of Political Science, International Affairs and Israel Studies, Northeastern University, in The Conversation:
President Trump asked Netanyahu to “hold back on settlements for a little bit”. Driven by a powerful combination of religious nationalism, economic incentives and security concerns, the continued expansion of Israeli settlements is one of the main reasons so many seasoned observers of the conflict, myself included, are increasingly pessimistic about the prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel’s settlement building has long been an irritant in US-Israeli relations. Successive US administrations have opposed it, viewing it as a provocation to Palestinians and an obstacle to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Obama administration was particularly vocal and unyielding in its opposition to settlement construction. It insisted that all Israeli settlement building had to stop. The Trump administration, by contrast, looks likely to adopt a more permissive attitude toward Israeli settlements. To be sure, it will not be as tolerant as those on the Israeli right and some on the American right initially hoped it would be.
Michael Laitman commented in Haaretz: Directly after the meeting, Trump said he didn’t mind which solution was reached, as long as it was agreed upon by both sides. A little while later he added: “As with any successful negotiation, both sides will have to make compromises,” [turning to Netanyahu], “You know that, right?” Netanyahu replied: “Both sides!” Later Netanyahu mentioned that he would like to switch from “labels to substance”, meaning to talk about the actual implementation of peace rather than sticking to slogans such as a “two-state solution”. But how can you talk about peace with a partner who does not want to reconcile with you? In truth, the only peace that the Palestinians want is the peace of mind of having driven the Jews out of Israel and into the Mediterranean, or to another country, or to another world.
The Times of Israel: Netanyahu hailed the success of his talks with President Trump, as the start of “a new day” in Israel’s relations with the US. “The alliance between Israel and the US has always been steadfast but, I told them there and also here in Jerusalem: This alliance has become even stronger.” Citing his connection with Trump as well as “the common view about the dangers and opportunities in the Middle East,” Netanyahu said that during his “historic visit”, he and the president saw “eye to eye” on a range of issues facing the region, specifically noting the threat posed by Iranian aggression.
Roger Cohen in the New York Times: There was plenty not to like in Trump’s joint appearance Netanyahu. But before I get to that, let’s entertain the notion that there was some merit in Trump’s agnostic punt on whether a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians should involve one state or two. Nikki Haley, the American ambassador to the UN, said: “The United States does not currently recognise a Palestinian state or support the signal this appointment would send.” What signal, pray? Trump should lift the American objection to (former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister) Salam Fayyad right now if he’s serious about a deal. This is prejudice as policy, the worst of Trump (with his grotesque deflection of a question about anti-Semitism into a celebration of his victory not far behind). It suggests his interesting one-state two-state provocation will lead nowhere.
Peter Beaumont in The Guardian: Standing alongside the Israeli prime minister… the US president declared himself unconcerned whether negotiations should be aimed at the two-state solution, which has long been guaranteed by Washington. Instead, Trump indicated that it would be left to Israelis and Palestinians to sort out the “ultimate deal” he had once promised he would make. Said Trump: “I’m looking at two-state and one-state and I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. “I can live with either one. I thought for a while it looked like the two-state might be the easier of the two – but honestly if Bibi, if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.”