Donald Trump's administration seeks to broker peace between Israel and Palestine: White House

Washington: The goal of Trump administration is to bring peace between Israel and Palestine whether it comes from two-State solution or something else, the White House has said.

On the eve of the crucial meeting between US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said America can only lend a helping hand in resolving the decades-long conflict but cannot dictate the terms of peace.

The White House. Representative Image. AP

The White House. AP

"A two-state solution that doesn't bring peace is not a goal that anybody wants to achieve. Peace is the goal, whether it 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, we're going to help them," a Senior White House official told reporters during a background briefing.

"May be, May be not", the official said on condition of anonymity when asked if peace equals two-State solution. "It's something the two sides have to agree to. It's not for us to impose that vision. But I think we'll find out more about that tomorrow," the official said on Tuesday.

The official said the term "two-state solution" has not been particularly well defined. "If I ask five people what a two-state solution is, I get eight different answers. We're looking at the two sides to come together to make peace together and we'll be there to help them," the official said.

Netanyahu arrived in the US on Tuesday. He met US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the State Department.

He is scheduled to meet Trump at the Oval Office on Wednesday, following which the two leaders are expected to address a joint news conference, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.

"They will discuss ways to advance and strengthen the special relationship between our two countries and stability in the Middle East. They will consult on a range of regional issues, including addressing the threats posed by Iran and its proxies, the crisis in Syria, and countering ISIS and other terrorist groups," Spicer told reporters.

"As the President has made clear, his administration will work to achieve comprehensive agreement that would end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so that Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace and security. The way forward toward that goal will also be discussed between the President and the Prime Minister," Spicer said.

Later a senior White House official said that the Trump Administration does not want to dictate peace to either Israel and Palestine and it is for the two parties to arrive at a peaceful resolution to decades old conflict.

"We're not going to dictate what the terms of peace will be. President Trump has very much indicated that he wants to achieve peace," the official said. The official said a possible meeting between the Israelis and Palestinians would be part of the discussions on Wednesday.

"He's hopeful to bring the two sides together to discuss peace," the official said of the President. Asked how quickly would he like to get a Middle East peace process going, the official said, "I do think it's a very high priority for the administration."

The official said settlements, an embassy move, Iran would also be up for discussion between Trump and Netanyahu.

"I don't want to get ahead of the meeting, but certainly those topics will be discussed," the official said, adding that Iran will be a critical piece of the discussion.

The recent UN resolution on settlements is another area of discussion between the two leaders.

"The posture that the US takes at the UN under this administration would be to veto anything that is biased against Israel. So we view the vote that took place as biased against Israel. We'll have to see what the potential impact is to Israel and so I'm not sure what can be done yet," the official said.


Published Date: Feb 15, 2017 10:29 am | Updated Date: Feb 15, 2017 10:29 am