J Street Blasts Trump's 'Dangerous Ignorance' for Not Endorsing Two-state Solution

The administration's refusal to explicitly back a two-state solution displays a 'dangerous ignorance' of the conflict, left-wing Jewish group says

U.S. President Donald Trump at White House in Washington, August, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump at White House in Washington, August, 2017. Carolyn Kaster/AP

WASHINGTON - Left-wing Jewish group J Street attacked the Trump administration on Thursday for refusing to endorse a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In a statement sent by email, with the headline "Trump Admin becoming Obstacle to Middle East Peace," the group's president, Jeremy Ben-Ami, said that by taking up such a stance, the administration was hurting its own efforts to reach peace.

Ben-Ami's statement came after a spokeswoman for the State Department, Heather Nauert, said on Wednesday that the administration is not endorsing any specific formulas for ending the conflict, because that could create "bias towards one side or the other." Nauert was responding to a question about the two-state solution during her daily press briefing. 

The State Department's spokeswoman "displayed dangerous ignorance about the nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and what it will take to end it," Ben-Ami said.

He added that, "The Trump administration has spoken often of its desire to broker a comprehensive and transformative peace agreement in the Middle East. Early steps taken by the special envoy and others suggested a real interest in constructing a viable approach to achieving that objective. But there is no way to accomplish that goal without a two-state solution."

The U.S. administration was also under fire Thursday by Americans for Peace Now, another organization backing a two-state solution. In a statement, the group said that "without a concrete vision for peace, negotiations are fruitless punctuations to perennial violence. Extremists on both sides have been trying to discredit the two-state vision since it was internationally adopted. Now they have a partner in the White House."

File photo: J Street head, Jeremy Ben-Ami.
Alon Ron

Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner met Thursday afternoon with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv as part of the American administration's attempt to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Kushner later traveled to Ramallah where he met with Palestinain President Mahmound Abbas.

At the start of their meeting, Kushner told Netanyahu that Trump is "committed to finding a solution that will bring prosperity and peace" to all the region's peoples.

Kushner arrived in Israel on Wednesday evening, heading a delegation which also includes U.S. envoy for the peace process Jason Greenblatt, Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell and was also joined by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

On Tuesday, Kushner, met with King Abdullah of Jordan and heard from him that Amman views the two-state solution as "the only way to end the conflict." Yet the Trump administration, after seven months of efforts on the Israeli-Palestinian front, still hasn't explicitly expressed any support for this solution in particular, one that the previous three American administrations were all committed to.