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Israelis and Palestinians react to Trump statements on settlements and peace process

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Senior political figures in Israel and the Palestinian territories have reacted to statements made yesterday by the US President on settlements and his seeming ambivalence to a one or two-state solution.

After President Donald Trump’s press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett, the Prime Minister’s right wing coalition partner, seemed positive.

He said: “The Palestinian flag was today lowered from the mast and replaced with the Israeli flag. The Palestinians already have two states: in Gaza and in Jordan.  There is no need for a third one.  I congratulate the Prime Minister for making the right decision, showing leadership and courage, and fortifying Israel’s security and sovereignty.  Now we must look ahead and shape a new strategic approach in light of the new reality.”

However, opposition leader Isaac Herzog took a different view. The Zionist Union chief said: “Every Israeli should be concerned by the possibility of one state between the sea and Jordan, meaning there is no Jewish State. It’s a disaster that must be fought in every way possible.”

Meretz chairwoman MK Zehava Gal-On said: “No matter what Trump says or does not say, the only solution remains ending the occupation, to keep Israel Jewish and democratic.”

MK Ahmad Tibi from the Joint Arab quipped about preparing for elections for the premiership of one country.

Palestinian figures reacted too. During a meeting with the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow, in Ramallah, Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said: “Contrary to Netanyahu’s plan of one state and two systems, apartheid, the only alternative to two sovereign and democratic states on the 1967 border is one single secular and democratic state with equal rights for everyone, Christians, Muslims, and Jews, on all of historic Palestine.”

His PLO colleague Ahmad Majdalani also commented, saying that Trump’s statements are a retreat from traditional US positions on settlements and the two-state solution.