A United States official said on Tuesday that the US was not necessarily committed to the two-state solution as the sole way out of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, sparking criticism from Palestinian officials who upheld that the two-state solution remained the only alternative to an apartheid system in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.
The official said during a press conference that President Donald Trump and his administration was “not going to dictate what the terms of peace will be” between Palestinians and Israelis.
“A two-state solution that doesn’t bring peace is not a goal that anyone wants to achieve,” the official added. “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.”
If Trump Admin. appears to ease away from U.S. support for two states in the Holy Land, what are alternatives? https://t.co/X6gMiJLUoZ
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 15, 2017
The Palestinian Authority (PA) Ministry of Foreign Affairs criticized the statement as a “very dangerous shift” in US policy, adding that such a statement a day before Trump is set to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was a “bad omen” which could disrupt diplomatic efforts to solve the conflict.
The ministry nonetheless that it would not make hasty conclusions or trust unconfirmed foreign policy changes.
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said that the two-state solution was already a hard-reached compromise as a basis for peaceful conflict resolution, and that the proposed Israeli alternative to such a solution would equal to apartheid.
“(The two-state solution) represents a painful and historic Palestinian compromise of recognizing Israel over 78 percent of historic Palestine,” he said. “Today, almost six million Palestinians live under Israeli control in all of historic Palestine, while almost six million Palestinians live in exile.”
— Slate (@Slate) February 15, 2017
“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,” Erekat stated.
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said that an American rejection of the two-state solution “would be destroying the chances for peace and undermining American interests, standing and credibility abroad.”
“If US President Donald Trump is trying to create alternative realities, then he should spell out what the options are — a one-state solution would require equal rights and citizenship for all, unless he is advocating for an apartheid state. However, a situation of perpetual occupation would only generate greater extremism and violence within the region and beyond,” she said.
“Accommodating the most extreme and irresponsible elements in Israel and in the White House is no way to make responsible foreign policy.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had said on Friday that there was “no plan B” to substitute the two-state solution. “It is absolutely essential to avoid unilateral actions that undermine the possibility of that two-state solution,” Guterres said at the time.
(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)