White House abandons two-state solution in Israel-Palestine conflict
The White House signaled a sharp break with decades of support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on the eve of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to the White House.
A senior White House official said the United States would no longer seek to dictate the terms of any eventual peace settlement, but would support what the two sides agree to a deal.
"A two-state solution that doesn't bring peace is not a goal that anybody wants to achieve," the official said on condition of anonymity.
"Peace is the goal, whether that comes in the form of a two-state solution if that's what the parties want, or something else if that's what the parties want."
President Trump will host Netanyahu at the White House on Wednesday, and is expected to express his desire to help broker a solution to the decades-long conflict.
For the better part of half a century successive US governments, Republican and Democrat, have backed a two-state solution.
But since coming to office Trump has sought to show that the United States is an unwavering ally of Israel, trying to draw a contrast with President Barack Obama.
Obama often warned that Israeli settlement construction could make a two-state solution impossible, and that a one-state solution would put the future of the Israel in question.
However Netanyahu’s right-wing government has been greatly emboldened by the Trump administration to annex more occupied land that would have been part of a future Palestinians state.
Since Trump’s inauguration on 20 January, Israel has announced the construction of over 6,000 settler homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israeli officials have also explicitly expressed their intentions to annex the entire West Bank in recent statements.
Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett earlier this month vowed the annexation of the entire West Bank, as authorities worked on evacuating the illegal Amona outpost.
"From the ruins of Amona we will build a new settlement," Bennett said.
"From its wreckage we will erect kindergartens all over Judea and Samaria. From the legal defeat, we will establish a new legal regime that will regulate all of the settlements, and from this loss we will start applying the sovereignty of the State of Israel all over Judea and Samaria."
Judea and Samaria is the term far-right Israeli politicians use for the West Bank.
Any new peace proposal by the Trump administration will likely involve forcing Palestinians to make further concessions to Israel.