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Trump muddles two-state message hours after delivering it

"I think probably two-state is more likely," Trump said at a news conference in New York. But "if the Israelis and the Palestinians want one state, that's okay with me," he added.
NEW YORK -- Eight hours after announcing his preference for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, US President Donald Trump equivocated, returning to his previous position that he will be satisfied "if they do a single, if they do a double," so long as the parties settle the conflict conclusively.

"I think probably two-state is more likely," Trump said at a news conference in New York. "Well, I think the two-state will happen. I think we'll go down the two-state road."

But "if the Israelis and the Palestinians want one state, that's okay with me," he added. "If they want two states, that's okay with me."

Trump offered a similar line at the very start of his presidency, declining to explicitly endorse a two-state solution that has divided Israel's rightwing government but has remained the foundation of peace efforts for over thirty years.

Trump said that Jared Kushner, his son-in-law leading the administration's peace initiative, has in his heart a love of Israel but also an understanding that the Palestinians must accept the outcome of any negotiation that is going to result in peace. "It takes two groups of people to be happy," he said.

And the president identified two primary reasons why he believes the "deal of the century" has been so hard to achieve.

"It's a real estate deal," he bluntly charged. But he then continued, "there's been so much hatred and anger."

Trump took questions for over an hour in the fourth solo news conference of his presidency.

He met earlier in the day with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and at the beginning of the meeting appeared to endorse the two-state solution with some conviction.

"I like two-state solution. I like two-state solution," Trump said. "I like two-state solution. Yeah. That what I think– that’s what I think works best. I don’t even have to speak to anybody, that’s my feeling. Now, you may have a different feeling– I don’t think so– but I think two-state solution works best."

Netanyahu later told journalists that he does not mind the "label" of two states, so long as Israel maintains full control over the security environment.

The Trump administration has removed references to a two-state solution, Israel's occupation of the West Bank and of "Palestinian territories" from State Department language.
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