At a joint press conference at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said for the first time that they might be working towards arranging a peace deal between Israel and the Arab states.
Israel continues to annex Palestinian lands to construct Jewish-only settlements, leading many observers, including former Secretary of State John Kerry, to say a two-state solution may no longer be viable.
The regional approach to peacemaking outlined by Trump and Netanyahu, grounded in a partnership between Israel and the Sunni Arab states, is foremost a recognition that there are grave problems that run across the borders created in the aftermath of World War I. If Israel is to achieve peace with the Palestinians, and if the Palestinians are to finally turn their Authority into something resembling a functional, accountable state, then those Arab states that are yet to make their own peace with Israel have to lead the way.
In a statement, the group Jewish Voice for Peace said, "Today Trump and Netanyahu spoke of their "shared values" of democracy and respect for human rights". These are alternative facts.
The United States has formally backed the two-state solution as official policy since 2002, when President George W. Bush said in the White House Rose Garden that his vision was "two states, living side by side in peace and security". "I can live with either one", Trump said. And he warned that any single state that emerged would lose Israel's Jewish character.
After weeks of dancing around the issue of expanded Israeli settlement construction, Trump asked Netanyahu to "hold back on settlements for a bit", while he also insinuated Palestinian children are indoctrinated. President Bill Clinton, who oversaw the Oslo Accords in the 1990s that were envisioned as a stepping stone to Palestinian statehood, said before leaving office that resolution to the conflict required a viable Palestinian state.
"I think the Palestinians have to get rid of some of that hate that they're taught from a very young age", he said, echoing Netanyahu's argument that Palestinians are not ready for peace.
Trump also said during the campaign that he would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's "undivided" capital - a controversial move that since current United States policy is to address Jerusalem's status in a final peace agreement. They're taught tremendous hate. He also allowed Parliament to pass a law retroactively legalizing some 4,000 settlement homes built on private Palestinian land.
At is conclusion, Melania Trump told CNN: "As we remember, with deep humility and reverence, the historic plight of slavery which the Jewish and African-American people have known all too well, we rededicate ourselves to those powerful words that both our nations hold dear: "NEVER AGAIN!" They write on the missile in Hebrew, "Israel must be destroyed", he said.
Still, Netanyahu indicated he was open to some sort of arrangement. "I think a deal will be made", he said.
The Palestinians seek a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.
He has also stepped back from his campaign pledge to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, now saying he is "studying" the issue. Palestinians and Arab governments have warned that such a move could be deeply destabilizing.
Trump recommitted to preventing Iran developing a nuclear weapons through diplomacy, but said he would do more. "You call for confronting Iran's terrorist regime, preventing Iran from realising this bad deal into a nuclear arsenal", Netanyahu said.
During the election campaign, Trump criticized the Iran nuclear deal that was implemented in 2016 - lifting global sanctions against Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program meant to ensure Tehran can not develop nuclear weapons. So, I didn't know you were going to be mentioning that, but now that you did, I think it is a terrific thing.
But Ghasemi dismissed the comments by Trump and Netanyahu comments as "nonsense".
In a first, Netanyahu said that Arab states could be an ally to the USA and Israel in facing the Iranian threats.