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Israel-Palestine conflict: Official says US won’t insist on two-state solution

Senior White House official said US would no longer seek to dictate the terms of any eventual peace settlement
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to visit President Donald Trump at the White House on Wednesday (AFP)

The White House signaled a sharp break with decades of support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Tuesday, on the eve of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to the White House.

A senior White House official said the United States would no longer seek to dictate the terms of any eventual peace settlement, but would support what the two sides agree to together.

"A two-state solution that doesn't bring peace is not a goal that anybody wants to achieve," the official said on condition of anonymity.

Failure by a US president to explicitly back a two-state solution would upend decades of US policy embraced by Republican and Democratic administrations. It has long been the bedrock US position for resolving the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict and has been at the core of international peace efforts.

"Peace is the goal, whether that 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."

President Trump will host Netanyahu at the White House on Wednesday and is expected to express his desire to help broker a solution to the conflict.

Since coming to office Trump has sought to show that the United States is an unwavering ally of Israel, trying to draw a contrast with President Barack Obama.

Trump considers Middle East peace a "high priority," the White House official said. The president has given his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the job of negotiating a peace deal.

Obama often warned that Israeli settlement construction could make a two-state solution impossible, and that a one state solution would put the future of the Jewish state in question.

Trump's choice for US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, who has not yet been confirmed by the Senate, will not be involved in the president's discussions with Netanyahu on Wednesday, the official said.

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