As Netanyahu Visits, a Big Policy Shift Looms

White House distances itself from two-state solution
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2017 7:06 AM CST
As Netanyahu Visits, a Big Policy Shift Looms
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with President Trump on Wednesday.   (Gali Tibbon, Pool via AP, File)

Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu meets with President Trump at the White House on Wednesday, with a potential shift in US policy seemingly in the works. The highlights:

  • An unidentified White House official suggested Tuesday night that the US will no longer push for a two-state solution, the idea of creating a sovereign Palestinian state that would sit side by side with Israel, reports Reuters. That has been US policy for about 20 years, notes the AP, though it adds that former President Obama in his final news conference acknowledged that the time for a two-state solution "may be passing."
  • The key quote, per the Washington Post, from the US official, on whether the US would insist on a two-state solution: “Maybe, maybe not. It’s something the two sides have to agree to. It’s not for us to impose that vision. A two-state solution that doesn’t bring peace is not our goal."

  • The Trump team seems to be moving toward an "outside-in" policy, in which it will push Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt to align with Israel and put pressure on the Palestinians to make concessions, according to an analysis at Foreign Policy. Its explainer says the idea makes sense but cautions against moving too aggressively on it.
  • The New York Times calls the outside-in strategy a "long shot."
  • Trump has put son-in-law Jared Kushner in charge of Mideast peace efforts, and the New York Times has a profile. It notes that Kushner as a Jewish teenager met Netanyahu more than once (the PM knows Kushner's father), and that the 36-year-old is now on a "crash course in diplomacy."
  • One thing is clear: After prickly relations with Obama, Netanyahu's relationship with Trump looks like it could be "especially warm," observes an analysis at the Atlantic.
  • An analysis at Haaretz says Netanyahu's biggest issue remains Iran, but he won't push Trump to dump the US nuclear agreement with Tehran, at least not yet.
(More Benjamin Netanyahu stories.)

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