The optics, certainly, were fine. It was good to see an American president and an Israeli prime minister standing together on the podium with what appeared to be genuine good will. Most important, and promising for the future, perhaps, was how they dealt with the “two state solution” mantra. There was, for the first time in years, nuance in both the American and the Israeli position toward what has become a slogan without meaning.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated the possibility of two states with caveats he noted:
- Palestinian acceptance of the legitimacy of Jewish sovereignty, echoing the words of the UN Partition Plan for Palestine for “a Jewish state.”
- Israeli security control from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River. “Israel must retain the overriding security control over the entire area west of the Jordan River. Because… otherwise we’ll get another radical Islamic terrorist state in the Palestinian areas exploding the peace, exploding the Middle East.”
President Donald Trump deferred, as befits someone who won’t live with the consequences of actions taken 6,000 miles away:
“I like the (solution) that both parties like… I can live with either one. I thought for a while that two states looked like it may be the easier of the two. To be honest, if Bibi and the Palestinians, if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.”
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