JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israelis eventually will have a prime minister named Mohammed if there is a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, President Donald Trump reportedly told King Abdullah of Jordan.
According to Axios, Abdullah informed French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian of Trump’s remarks during a meeting in Amman earlier this month, recalling how he told his American counterpart that “many young Palestinians don’t want the two-state solution anymore, but would rather live together with the Israelis in one state with equal rights for all.”
Such an outcome, the king said, would mean that Israel would “lose its Jewish character.”
Abdullah described Trump as replying, somewhat sarcastically, that his observation made sense and that in such a case, “the prime minister of Israel in a few years will be called Mohammed.”
Support for a two-state solution among Israelis and Palestinians recently dropped to a historic low. According to a new poll conducted by Tel Aviv University and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, only 43 percent of both Israeli Jews and Palestinians back such a negotiated end to the conflict, a decline of 9 and 8 points since 2016, respectively.
In his public statements Trump has remained somewhat agnostic regarding the outlines of a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. During a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in February 2017, the president expressed ambivalence about the form that a final settlement would take, saying that he was “looking at two-state, and one-state, 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,” Trump said.
Subsequently asked whether he had backed away from the two-state concept, Trump said, “No, I like the two-state solution.” But, he added, “I ultimately like what the both parties like.”
This position sharply diverged with that of previous U.S. presidents, who said two states is the only viable solution for resolving the conflict.
The Trump administration has yet to reveal its much-touted Middle East peace plan, which is being developed by Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser; Jason Greenblatt, a special representative for international negotiations; David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel; and Nikki Haley, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations. Except for Haley, all of the administration officials working on the proposal are Orthodox Jews.
The team did release a joint statement last week saying that “no one will be fully pleased with our proposal, but that’s the way it must be if real peace is to be achieved. Peace can only succeed if it is based on realities.”
— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) August 15, 2018
“We were the first to fight against it and we will continue to fight against it until it falls,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said of the administration’s plan last week during a session of the PLO Central Council. “This is the ‘slap of the century.’”
Responding to Trump’s purported comments, Israeli-Arab Knesset member Ahmad Tibi jokingly tweeted that he would be the next prime minister.
“Mr President, you are also confusing the names,” he tweeted. “Ahmad, not Mohammed. Ahmad.”
— Ahmad Tibi (@Ahmad_tibi) August 19, 2018