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Trump’s ‘one-state solution’ comment draws mixed reactions

By Khetam Malkawi - Feb 21,2017 - Last updated at Feb 21,2017

A picture taken on Monday shows a Palestinian woman and a child walking in the Bani Naaim village with the Israeli settlement of Bani Hever, southwest of the Israeli occupied West Bank city of Hebron, seen in the background (AFP photo)

AMMAN — US President Donald Trump’s recent statements about the one-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict have unleashed a stream of reactions and predictions about the potential consequences for the region, and particularly Jordan. 

While some observers viewed Trump’s statement as an end to the “cosmetic” negotiations, some argued that Washington should have a solution in place to avoid “irreparably damaging” ties with Arab states.

Despite the different views of columnists interviewed by The Jordan Times, they all agreed that the end of talks focusing on the two-state solution will have a direct impact on Jordan and its rights that were guaranteed in the 1994 peace deal with Israel.

Abdullah Sawalha, director of the Centre for Israeli Studies in Amman, said he was “pessimistic” about the future of a two-state solution, arguing that Trump’s statement was just a description of a reality that no one wants to admit.

In a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last Wednesday, Trump urged Netanyahu to curb settlement activity but avoided any explicit endorsement of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“There will not be a Palestinian state in the way that we want,” because Israel does not want that, Sawalha told The Jordan Times.

Still, for Sawalha, Palestinians will be represented in any other scenario to end the conflict, but not through a “two-state solution”. 

“It might be a nonfederal or autonomous system, where Palestinians are present,” but never a two-state solution, the analyst added.

In a recent article, columnist Maher Abu Teir agreed with Sawalha, saying that the two-state solution was an “illusion”.

“The two-state solution was an illusion promised to Arabs and Palestinians for three reasons,” the Ad Dustour daily columnist said.

He said the reasons included luring Palestinians into recognition of Israel as a state, bringing Palestinian factions into Palestine to better control them, as well as using “peace process” negotiations to buy time for Israel in order to expand its colonisation of the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Although Trump was ambigous in his opinion about the two-state solution, Samih Maaytah, a political analyst and former government spokesperson, seemed optimistic that there would be a change in US policy towards the Palestinian cause and other issues of concern to the Middle East.

Maaytah said Trump’s statements reflected his lack of experience in the region.

“His statements were not political and a bit ambiguous,” Maaytah told The Jordan Times, but added that “in the end, the Americans will not take the Israeli side and end up losing Arabs”.

However, what Trump has said so far would “harm the interests of both Palestine and Jordan”, Maaytah added.

Meanwhile, Musa Shteiwi, Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan, said Israel has been hindering all attempts to reach a two-state solution.

He said, however, that this is the only solution that serves the interests of both Jordan and Palestine, and without it, any other proposal will not be realistic, as there are many issues connected to it, including the rights of refugees.

Still, Shteiwi argued that the US administration will not leave the Palestinian-Israeli conflict without a solution, but he questioned their proposals and what they would actually look like.  

Last week, Mohammad Momani, the government’s spokesperson, said the establishment of a Palestinian state not only meets Palestinian national aspirations, but is also of the highest national interest to Jordan.

“Justice should be granted to Palestinians by giving them their legitimate national rights, which primarily focus on establishing a sovereign Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.


“Without ensuring justice for the Palestinian people, the Palestinian issue will remain unresolved,” stressed Momani, who is also minister of state for media affairs.

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