During a joint press conference on Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Donald Trump announced that he thought a two-state solution “works best" as a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
What did Trump say about the two-state solution?
“I like two-state solution. I like two-state solution" Trump told reporters. “That's what I think works best. I don't even have to speak to anybody, that's my feeling. Now, you may have a different feeling," he said gesturing toward Netanyahu, “I don't think so. But I think two-state solution works best."
He added that he wanted to have a plan “that is solid, understood by both sides, really semi-agreed to by both sides before we start a negotiation. I would say over the next two to three to four months that would be the time that I would like to release the plan."
Trump also reiterated his support of Israel's right to defend itself:
What we did in Jerusalem with respect to the embassy was something that I guess was controversial but it's turned out to be very positive in many ways. And a lot of progress has being made in many other areas. We're talking military, we're talking defense. And we are very much in favor of what Israel is doing as far as their defense is concerned. They're aggressive and they have no choice but to be aggressive. It's a very difficult part of the world, so I just want to let Benjamin — let all of the people know, let Bibi know, that we are with you, we are with Israel 100 percent.
Is this a shift in policy?
This is a shift in policy for the White House, which until now has been noncommittal on this topic. In February 2017, a senior White House official told the Los Angeles Times that Trump was not sold on the idea of a two-state solution.
“A two-state solution that doesn't bring peace is not our goal that anybody wants to achieve," the official said. “It's not for us to impose that vision."
That same month, at another news conference with Netanyahu, Trump said that he did not have an opinion on whether a two-state or one-state solution was the best course of action for Israel.
“I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like," he said. “I can live with either one."