(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Trump UN Speech Met with Criticism from All Sides

Despite having, for most of his presidency, borne the brunt of intense criticism for not invoking the mantra of support for the so-called “two-state solution,” U.S. President Donald Trump was panned by some Israelis and Palestinians when, for the first time, he endorsed the two-state formula. It happened before meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly’s opening session on Wednesday. To be sure, the embrace was tepid, accompanied by the explanation that “I think that works best,” but it was enough for some critics of the administration to ruminate on what they see as a potentially good thing. To what extent the anxiously-awaited Trump peace proposal confirms Wednesday’s remark as a core principle of the plan rather than a politically-required check-off will not be known for another “two to four months” according to the president. Palestinian officials who until now have been highly critical of President Trump’s failure to embrace “two-state” were not moved when it finally came, charging, as did Husam Zomlot, who headed the Palestinian mission to the United States until the PLO office was closed and Zomlot ordered home with his family, that there is a gap between Trump’s actions and the latest rhetoric. Israelis on the political right who have been encouraged by the president’s refusal until now to invoke the two-state mantra were quick to reiterate their positions. Education minister Naftali Bennett, for instance, sought to admonish the president that a Palestinian state would be “a disaster.” Other Israelis, though, including the political opposition, were buoyed to hear President Trump’s comments, setting up the approaching national election as a referendum on “two-state” and if it proves to be of substance and pragmatic as promised, the Trump peace plan as drafted by Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and Ambassador David Friedman.

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