At a press conference on the occasion of the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to Washington US President Donald Trump has made it clear that he will not seek a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict. Since the start of the Oslo peace process in 1993 all US administrations had adhered to this approach. Europe's commentators voice concern that this U-turn could have dramatic consequences.
Free rein for Israel
Der Standard also sees the chances of peace in the Middle East growing smaller:
“It is true that the Middle East conflict is further than ever from a two-state solution - not just because of Israel's settlement policy but also because the Palestinian leadership has neither the energy nor the will to make the painful compromises that a solution would require. But ever since the UN Partition Plan was passed in 1947, international commitment has been the only constant that offers a spark of hope. We are all too aware of the weaknesses of the two-state solution, but the alternative - a joint state of Jews and Palestinians - would definitely be worse: either the Jewish character of the state or democracy would be lost. And peace would hardly be conceivable in a second Lebanon. Trump's verbal U-turn is above all a signal that he is giving Israel free rein vis-à-vis the Palestinians and that he no longer sees the US in the role of mediator.”
This Middle East policy only fuels terror
Trump's turning away from the two-state solution puts pressure on players who were hitherto US allies and strengthens the Islamists to boot, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung concludes:
“The Middle East conflict plays a central role in the narrative of radical Islamists. In their propaganda they will interpret Trump's policy as further proof that the Western 'crusaders' dream of nothing but oppressing Muslims. Particularly for the governments of Arab neighbours Jordan and Egypt it won't be any easier to justify peaceful relations with Israel. And Mahmoud Abbas's moderate Palestinian Authority will come under even more pressure. Since its election defeat against the Islamist Hamas in 2006 it has lost its democratic legitimacy. The last trump in its hand was the fragile hope of a two-state solution, for which it is the sole internationally recognised negotiating partner.”