Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed on Sunday that he attended a secret US-led summit with Arab leaders in early 2016 meant to jumpstart efforts toward a regional peace push, but told Likud ministers that he, and not then-US secretary of state John Kerry, was the initiator of the meeting. In Gaza, Palestinians reacted with "anger and bafflement", the New York Times reported.
"The two-state solution and the mutual recognition of the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed land swaps and Jerusalem as the capital of both states, remains the only hope for peace", said Victor Bostinaru, a Romanian member of the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group.
For Netanyahu, the overriding goal is the preservation of the status quo, which allows Israel to slowly chip away at the prospects of a viable Palestinian state, preparing the groundwork for future negotiations with the Palestinians he knows Israel will eventually have to enter, but at which the fait accompli of Israeli settlements in the West Bank ensures the creation of a small, rump, unviable Palestinian state.
Beyond the warm and fuzzy atmosphere, however, the press conference, and what was said at it, revealed a multitude of historical and factual ignorance from Trump, a calculated reframing of the Israeli-Palestinian issue by Netanyahu, and not-so-subtle hints dropped by both leaders about the real possibility of some grand deal that was truly delusional.
In a Reuters interview, Trump said that he likes the concept of the two-state solution, but would be satisfied with "whatever makes both parties happy". The United States won't force a solution on the two sides, and it won't oppose any agreement they reach just because it doesn't fit predetermined parameters. "That, I think, is frankly a unique position of Donald Trump, and one which we're very proud of". I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two. If nothing is done, one state might still emerge, as Israeli settlements continue to creep further and further into Palestinian land.
The Israeli-Palestinian peace process is at a critical juncture and the European Union and its member states should recognise Palestinian statehood, according to members of Parliament's Palestine delegation. "This is madness", he said.
The commonality "focuses on repelling the dangers but also seizing the opportunities", continued Israel's prime minister.