TEL AVIV — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that President Donald Trump understands and accepts that under a two-state solution, which the U.S. president endorsed for the first time that day, Israel would still retain security control of the West Bank.
“I am sure that any US peace plan will reflect that principle to a great extent, maybe even entirely,” Netanyahu told reporters after a meeting with Trump.
“Some things are not acceptable to us,” he added. “Make no mistake: Israel will not give up on security control west of the Jordan as long as I am prime minister. I think the Americans accept that principle.”
Asked whether he hoped to see a Palestinian state while he was still in office, Netanyahu said, “I suggest that you wait patiently.”
“The question is, what is a state?” he asked. “It’s a real question. That’s also what I said in the meeting: Will it be Costa Rica or Iran? Who will have security control?”
“I talked about the essence, and not the terminology,” he said. “I am ready for the Palestinians to have the power to govern themselves without having the powers to threaten us.”
He said Trump’s endorsement of a two-state solution was not surprising and that the two leaders had discussed the issue “constantly.”
Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home), meanwhile, took to Twitter to say that while Trump was “a true friend of Israel,” a Palestinian state would be a “disaster.”
“It must be emphasized that as long as the Jewish Home party is part of Israel’s government, there will not be a Palestinian state, which would be a disaster for Israel,” Bennett wrote.
Netanyahu responded to Bennett’s tweet: “I promise that there won’t be a Palestinian state that will be a disaster for the State of Israel.”