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Netanyahu stresses Israeli security after Trump two-state comments

Trump said explicitly for the first time that he backed a two-state solution [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 September, 2018

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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that Israel must retain security control in any peace deal with the Palestinians, after US President Donald Trump's comments supporting a two-state solution.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that Israel must retain security control in any peace deal with the Palestinians, Israeli media reported, after US President Donald Trump's comments supporting a two-state solution.

Speaking to Israeli journalists after meeting Trump in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu reiterated his stance that Israel must control security west of Jordan to the Mediterranean - which includes the occupied West Bank.

"I am willing for the Palestinians to have the authority to rule themselves without the authority to harm us," Netanyahu said, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

"It is important to set what is inadmissible to us: Israel will not relinquish security control west of Jordan. This will not happen so long as I am prime minister and I think the Americans understand that."

As in the past, Netanyahu did not specify whether he could support full Palestinian statehood in a peace deal or some lesser form of autonomy.

A key Israeli government minister and Netanyahu rival said after Trump's comments that a Palestinian state was out of the question.

"The president of the US is a true friend of Israel," Education Minister Naftali Bennett of the far-right Jewish Home party said on Twitter.

"However, it must be emphasised that as long as the Jewish Home party is part of Israel's government, there will not be a Palestinian state which would be a disaster for Israel."

When meeting Netanyahu on Wednesday, Trump said explicitly for the first time that he backed a two-state solution that would create an independent Palestine, saying: "That's what I think works best, that's my feeling."

The Palestinian leadership cut off contact with Trump's administration after he recognised the occupied city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December.

Trump has also cut more than $500 million in Palestinian aid.

Palestinian leaders accuse his White House of blatant bias in favour of Israel and of seeking to blackmail them into accepting his terms.

Trump has nevertheless spoken of wanting to reach the "ultimate deal" - Israeli-Palestinian peace.

He said Wednesday he would present his plan before the end of the year.

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