President Donald Trump said Wednesday that a Middle East peace plan is at hand and could be announced anywhere from two to four months, USA Today reported.
Trump also confirmed longstanding U.S. support for a Palestinian state in brief comments ahead of his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the newspaper stated. The president said that his team has been making progress on a plan and is getting to close to unveiling details.
“It is a dream of mine to be able to get that done prior to the end of my first term,” Trump told reporters while attending his second United Nations General Assembly this week. He said an announcement could come within “two to three to four months,” USA Today wrote.
Although critics have accused the administration of driving a wedge into negotiations by moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem this year and slashing foreign aid to Palestinians, Trump said he favors a state of Palestine, USA Today noted.
“I like two-state solution,” Trump said, per the newspaper. “That’s what I think works best.”
The Times of Israel pointed out that Trump’s comments appeared to be a shift in feelings from February 2017 when he first met Netanyahu at the White House. Then, Trump seemed open to not securing a state for Palestinians, which would have been a major shift in longstanding U.S. policy but closer to what Netanyahu favors.
“I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” Trump said back in February, the Times of Israel noted. “I can live with either one.”
The publication stated that the Trump administration has even considered a confederation between the West Bank, Jordan, and possibly Israel as a way to bring lasting peace to the region.
“I think a lot of progress has been made,” Trump said Wednesday, per the Times of Israel. “I think Israel wants to do something. I think Palestinians want to do something. It will start moving pretty soon, pretty rapidly.”
Palestinian leadership had boycotted the Trump administration since the U.S. embassy move and declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Palestine and Israel have both claimed the city.
In response to the boycott, according to the Times of Israel, the White House cut millions in aid to the Palestinians and the United Nations agency that assists them, UNRWA.
“We were paying them $500 million a year,” Trump had said, the Times of Israel reported. “Now we pay nothing a year. For years we were abused by the Palestinian leadership. That’s stopped. [The money] will come back. They will be coming back to the table, and they want to.”