Trump praises Israel, encourages peace

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres says there is no "plan B" for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, after the White House suggested a two-state solution was one of many options for making peace.

"I like the one that both parties like", he said. I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two.

In the interview with Israel Hayom, Trump praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a "good man" whom he has "always had good chemistry" with. I could live with either one. You know that, right? He responded by cracking a exhausted old joke about Israelis having many opinions. -Israeli deal limiting construction to existing communities close to Israel's borders would have the practical effect of preserving the possibility of side-by-side states.

Trump may not be particularly bothered, but Netanyahu needed to be.

The solution was first endorsed by the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1988 alongside its recognition of the state of Israel; in 2002, Republican President George W. Bush declared that the creation of a Palestinian state was official US policy. And many Israelis support that other key prime ministerial demand, for overall security control in the West Bank, to ensure that Palestinian independence not be abused to harm Israel - to ensure, as he put it on Wednesday, that another Islamist dictatorial entity not arise there.

A one-state solution refers to a political system that would encourage Jews and Palestinians to retain separate nationalities within a single country, while the two-state policy endorsed by Congress and US presidents since the late 1990s, sets as goals an independent Palestine alongside a democratic, Jewish Israel. He could have repeated his call for a demilitarized Palestinian entity.

The right-wing Israeli leader has spoken of a "state minus", suggesting he could offer the Palestinians deep-seated autonomy and the trappings of statehood without full sovereignty. In the past, the idea of two states had been a red flag for the party's hard-core supporters, who advocated the idea of the Greater Land of Israel.

Middle East Eye also noted that "Netanyahu said that he did not want to see a two-state solution that would give rise to a 'terrorist, Islamic dictatorship'".

At the press conference, Netanyahu couldn't have been clearer about his hesitance to get into the whole business.

But for all the concrete - and in some cases shocking - moves made by Trump since he took office last month, his approach to the Israel-Palestine question remains something of a mystery.

Netanyahu says the Palestinians "vehemently" reject both of his requirements.

Regarding the possible embassy relocation to the capital of Jerusalem, Trump took a more cautious tone than he did in previous statements during the presidential campaign, when he repeatedly vowed to move the embassy.

NETANYAHU: "That's the art of the deal".

Plainly Netanyahu was enjoying himself. The Arab leaders must maintain at least rhetorical support for the Palestinians, lest they spark protests by many of their own people.

Officials said they wanted no gaps to emerge between USA and Israeli thinking during the scheduled two-hour Oval Office meeting.

It is hard to overstate the antagonism of team Trump towards Iran - even if it has just lost Michael Flynn, the shortlived but fanatical national security adviser, . While Netanyahu flatters and courts Trump, he largely ignores Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Whatever the eventual outcome, Trump has designated his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to head up Middle East peace efforts. He said he planned to discuss settlements with Trump later, so that the USA and Israel don't keep "bumping into each other".

  • Arturo Norris