Thursday, January 12, 2017

Trump secretary of state pick: Two-state solution must remain the ‘aspiration’

WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, endorsed the two-state solution Wednesday and denounced Palestinian terrorism as an obstacle to a peace deal, but said both sides in the decades-long conflict had failed to seize past opportunities to clinch an accord.
During his confirmation hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the former CEO of ExxonMobil laid out his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the first time.
Tillerson singled out the Palestinians’ failure to stop violence as a cause for the stalemate between the sides. “I would say in the case of the Palestinian leadership, while they have renounced violence, it is one thing to renounce it and another to take concrete action to prevent it,” he said.
“I think until there is a serious demonstration on their part and they are willing to do more than just renounce violence, [until] they are willing to do something to at least interrupt it or interfere with it, it is very difficult to create conditions at the table for parties to have any productive discussion around [a] settlement,” he added.
But Tillerson also lamented what he described as the inability of both Israeli and Palestinian leaders to make the compromises and risks necessary to reach an agreement.
“There have been many opportunities for the parties to sit down and work things out,” he said. “Leadership certainly have not seized those opportunities.” READ MORE