The Trump administration won’t bother with seeking a two-state solution:
The White House said Tuesday that finding a solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians doesn’t have to include an agreement to establish two separate states, marking a dramatic break from decades of U.S. policy.
On the eve of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the White House to meet President Donald Trump, a senior administration official said the Israelis and Palestinians have to agree on what form peace between their countries will take—and that didn’t necessarily include two states.
In practice, the Israeli government has been working to eliminate the possibility of a two-state solution for many years, so the main short-term effect of this shift is to encourage them to continue what they are already doing. “Pro-Israel” hawks can then dispense with the fiction that they were ever interested in a diplomatic settlement, and pressure on Israel to halt settlement-building will disappear all together. Insofar as that closes off the possibility of resolving the conflict through negotiations, it is likely to produce more unilateral efforts to obtain recognition of Palestine and possibly more violence.
The administration official quoted in the story claims that the U.S. will be happy with whatever arrangement the parties agree on as long as it leads to peace, but this is pure sophistry. Both parties claimed to support a two-state solution because it seemed the most achievable compromise available that both could accept, and the alternatives were unacceptable to one or both of them. If the U.S. now shrugs and says that it doesn’t matter if there are two states at the end of the process, it is an admission that there will be absolutely no effort to secure an independent Palestinian state and the status quo will continue indefinitely. This strips away the thin pretense that the U.S. even wants a Palestinian state, and makes the U.S. position even more lopsidedly in favor of Israel than it was before. That is consistent with what we have come to expect from Trump on these issues, but over the longer term it is bad both for Israelis and Palestinians and it is bound to be bad for the U.S. to continue to be identified as an enabler of the occupation.