Nikki Haley contradicts Trump’s position on Israel
Julian Borger, Graun, Feb 16 2017
The Pindo ambassador to the UN has insisted that Faschingstein “absolutely” supports the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestine conflict, 24 hours after Donald Trump dropped Pindo commitment to the policy. The conflicting messages coming out of the new Pindo administration reflected policy chaos in a week when the national security adviser was forced to resign over his contacts with Russia, and factions inside the White House continue to vie for dominance. In Bonn, French FM Ayrault emerged from his first meeting with Sec State Tillerson to describe the Trump administration’s Middle East policy as “confused and worrying.” Speaking alongside PM Netanyahu, Ayrault pointed to Trump’s remarks in a joint appearance with Netanyahu, in which he explicitly abandoned the two decades-long Pindo commitment to the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel as part of a final peace deal. Trump said:
I’m looking at two-state and one-state (outcomes), and I like the one that both parties like, I’m very happy with the one that both parties like, I can live with either one.
After his meeting with Tillerson at the sidelines of a G20 meeting, Ayrault told reporters (my rewrite – RB):
I wanted to remind Tillerson after the meeting between Trump and Netanyahu that in France’s view, there are no other options other than the perspective of a two-state solution, and that the other option which Trump raised was not realistic, fair or balanced. I found that Tillerson provided a bit more precision, even though I found that on the Israeli-Palestinian dossier, things were was very confused and worrying.
He also noted differences over the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, with the Trump administration wanting to review it “from scratch.” But meanwhile, Pindosi ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley was adamant that Pindo policy on Isro-Pal issues had not changed. She told reporters at UN HQ in NYC:
First of all, the two-state solution is what we support! Anybody that wants to say that Pindostan does not support the two-state solution: that would be an error!
Referring to Trump’s comments, she said:
We absolutely support the two-state solution, but we are thinking out of the box as well.
Adding to the confusion, Trump used his meeting with Netanyahu to urge him publicly to restrain Israeli settlement building on the West Bank, but his nominee for the Pindo ambassadorship, his former bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman, has been a long-term supporter of expanded settlements and even annexation of the West Bank (hence the one-state solution! – RB). On the other hand, at his Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday, Friedman distanced himself from many of his past policy positions and comments on the Middle East, including his rejection of a two-state solution, saying:
If Israelis and Palestinians are able to achieve a two-state solution, I would be delighted. There’s no appetite among Palestinians for a one-state solution. But I no longer support the annexation of the West Bank.
He repeatedly apologised for past verbal attacks on the ‘Kapos’ of north America and the branding of Obama and the State Dept as anti-Semitic, saying:
There is no excuse for my offensive comments. I deeply regret them. They don’t reflect my character.
Republicans on the committee indicated they were likely to support Friedman’s nomination, all but assuring his eventual confirmation. But the committee chairman, Bob Corker asked him:
Why do you want this job so much, if it means that you have to recant every single strongly-held belief you’ve ever had?
This is something I want to do, because I think I can do it well, and (the mantra! – RB) “There is nothing more important to me than strengthening the bond between USrael.”