JILL COLVIN, AP
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration said Tuesday that peace between the Israelis and Palestinians may not come in the form of a two-state solution — a dramatic shift from former President Barack Obama, who said he saw no alternative.
Speaking to reporters ahead of President Donald Trump’s meeting Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a senior White House official said Trump is eager to begin facilitating a peace deal between the two side and hoping to bring them together soon.
But the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to preview the visit, said it will be up to the Israelis and Palestinians to determine what peace will entail.
The official said peace is the goal, regardless of whether it comes in the form of a two-state solution. He says the administration will work as a facilitator, but is not going to dictate what the terms of peace are going to be.
During his final White House news conference, Obama warned that the moment for a two-state solution “may be passing” and said the “status quo is unsustainable.”
Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Trump at the White House Wednesday, after which he’ll head to Capitol Hill for meetings with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Trump takes pride in his deal-making skills and said during his campaign that he’d love the challenge of negotiating a Mideast agreement. At one point Trump pointed to his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as the best man for the job.
The official said the Trump and Netanyahu are likely to discuss peace as well as expanded Israeli settlements, Iran and Trump’s campaign pledge to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
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