One State or Two
February 19, 2017
I knew I was going to be a hell of a president but, frankly, I underestimated myself. I’ve got a great feel for diplomacy and international relations. Did you see me at the news conference last week with Prime Minister Abe after the North Koreans had test fired another ballistic missile? I coolly let the Japanese leader denounce the aggressors and, when he finished, simply stepped in and promised to back our ally.
I was just as smooth the other day during my press conference with my good friend Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. I didn’t rant or preach like a lot of presidents. I just said, “I’m looking at two-state and one-state” solutions to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, and “I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one both parties like. I can live with either one.”
Then, before the world, I told Bibi, “I’d like to see you hold back on settlements for a little bit.” People assume because my daughter Ivanka converted to the Orthodox Judaism of her husband Jared Kushner, who’s also one of my senior advisors, that I won’t be fair to the Palestinians. Listen, folks, I understand deals.
“As with any successful negotiation, both sides will have to make comprises,” I said, and turned to Bibi. “You know that, right?”
The Palestinians shouldn’t worry that Bibi told everyone how long he’d been friends with my family and me and how he knew Jared when he was a kid. I can help them more than their Arab neighbors. Egypt’s economy’s in the tank, Iraq been bleeding for decades and Syria for several years, and the Saudis are scared about Iran and terrorists in Yemen. I didn’t want to say it to the media, but the Palestinians are getting pretty isolated. Unless someone convinces Bibi and the Israelis to stop building more housing units, they’ll soon annex the West Bank. Some say it’s really been annexed since the war in 1967.
I’m not going to accept that or any deal unless both sides feel good. I’m going to sit down and find out what they want. Generations of leaders here and in the Middle East have failed to do that. Donald J. Trump’s different.