Agency Report

FILE PHOTO: US President Donald Trump speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu/Photo: Reuters
FILE PHOTO: US President Donald Trump speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu/Photo: Reuters

United States President Donald Trump has urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “hold off” on settlements, BBC reports.

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In a combined news conference, Trump also promised to deliver a “great” peace deal, but said Israel and the Palestinians must both agree.

A “two-state solution” to the decades-old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is the declared goal of their leaders and the international community.

It is the shorthand for a final settlement that would see the creation of an independent state of Palestine within pre-1967 ceasefire lines in the West Bank,

Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, living peacefully alongside Israel.

The UN, the Arab League, the European Union, Russia and, until now, the US routinely restate their commitment to the concept.

“To be honest, if Bibi [Mr Netanyahu] and the Palestinians, if Israel and the Palestinians are happy – I’m happy with the one they like the best,” Trump said when asked about the two-state solution.

Neither leader committed explicitly to back a future independent Palestine.

Israel has approved thousands of new homes in West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements since Trump took office.

The Israeli government is hoping for better relations with the White House after eight years of friction with the former Obama administration.