Hours before meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Trump administration released a pivotal statement. The Washington Post reported:
A White House official told reporters that the United States will not insist on two states as the only outcome for peace. “Maybe, maybe not. It’s something the two sides have to agree to. It’s not for us to impose that vision,” the official said. “A two-state solution that doesn’t bring peace is not our goal,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the potential U.S. policy change.
This is an enormous change from the way President Obama approached the Middle East conflict. Obama played a consistent role as defender of the Palestinians and agitator of the Israeli government. It was no secret that Obama did not enjoy dealing with “Bibi” Netanyahu.
Trump has turned a new and optimistic page for relations with its democratic ally.
In the press conference following the meeting, Trump and Netanyahu both stood tall and side-by-side. Trump began by, once again, declaring the Iran Deal one of the worst deals he has ever seen. Trump argued that the deal puts Israel in danger each and every day. He stated the unacceptable threats that Israel faces, ranging from terror attacks to international boycotts led by the BDS “movement.”
Bibi followed by reaffirming that “Israel has no better ally than America, and America has no better ally than Israel.”
When answering questions, Trump seemed to shy away from the topic of Israeli settlements. Trump asked Bibi to “slow down on the building on settlements,” following up with “I’m sure we’ll make a deal soon.” Trump knew the media would pounce on any opportunity to headline his support for the settlements. Trump’s decision to stay somewhat reserved about the matter was probably wise from an international relations point of view.
President Trump was certainly not shy about his opinion as to whose side he is on in the Middle-East Conflict. He stated that while he would like to see Israel be a bit more flexible when it comes to peace agreements, the Palestinians must acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as the Jewish State. He continued with “I like the country that everyone likes,” referring (of course) to Israel.
Trump and Netyanyahu showed a level of camaraderie that Israel had not seen in over eight years with President Obama. It was an enormous display of American solidarity with Israel, one that may anger much of the world–but will please a very grateful minority.
While both leaders hope for peace in the Middle East, it was apparent that Trump cares a great deal for Israel. The time has come for Israel and America to be able to rely on each other again.