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Palestinian officials slam White House for backing down on two-state solution

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said moving the US embassy to Jerusalem "will be the destruction of the peace process"
Thomas SAMSON (AFP/File)
UN Secretary-General says 'everything' must be done" to salvage the goal of a two-state solution

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in a press conference on Wednesday criticized the Trump administration and Israel for backing away from supporting the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His statement comes after a senior White House official told reporters that the Trump administration isn’t committed to a two-state solution as the only pathway to peace.

“The alternative to the two-state solution is one state where religious Muslims, Christians and Jews live equally,” Erekat said.

The senior official affirmed that Palestinians have consistently been committed to a two-state solution.

“We were asked to commit to the two-state solution and we have done that up until today,” Erekat said. “We are still committed to the two state solution and international law.”

Erekat stressed that the Trump administration has not discussed the peace process with the Palestinian Authority.

“The ideal solution is an Israeli state and Palestinian next to each other. I have not received any official information from Washington regarding the peace process and we need this information,” Erekat said.

"The Israeli government buried the two state solution and omitted the idea of creating a Palestinian state, "Erekat said, "The solution for the PLO and for Palestine is the two state solution."

On Tuesday, a senior White House official said the United States would no longer seek to dictate the terms of any eventual peace settlement by insisting on a Palestinian state alongside Israel, but would support whatever the two sides agree to together.

The comments came on the eve of White House talks between Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"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."

Earlier Wednesday, Palestinian Authority executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi criticized US President Donald Trump's break with decades of support for the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, calling it irresponsible.

"This does not make sense," Ashrawi told AFP. "This is not a responsible policy and it does not serve the cause of peace.

"They cannot just say that without an alternative," she added.

While the White House's remarks sparked outrage from the Palestinians,

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres  that "everything must be done" to salvage the goal of a two-state solution, following a meeting with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday. 

"There was a complete agreement" that a resolution needs a "two state-solution and that everything must be done to preserve that possibility," Guterres said in a press conference in Cairo.

The French Ambassador to the UN  Francois Delattre also spoke out on the issue on Wednesday, after Washington signaled it was ready to step away from the policy, stating France's commitment to the two-state solution was "stronger than ever."

Delattre recalled that the international community gathered at the Paris conference last month had reaffirmed support for a settlement that would see the creation of a Palestinian state.

"It's not up to me, of course, to comment on other countries' position, but what I can say is our commitment to the two-state solution is stronger than ever," Delattre told reporters.

(Staff with agencies)

Comments

(2)

Finally, Trump did something right. He signaled to Palestinians the status quo is unworkable and they can no longer bully everyone. So glad they are ticked off. If they want a two state solution then they will have to find a way to negotiate properly with US and Israel which doesn't involve violence and the destruction of the Jewish state.

AreYouKiddingMe

you know what they say about people who keep repeating the same mistake reflecting a different outcome? Insane. and they're you have this so called international agreement. once again repeating failure. good for trump. to bad for the terrorist palistinians

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