“If the Israelis and the Palestinians want one state, that’s OK with me. If they want two states, that’s OK with me,” he said. “I’m happy if they’re happy.”
Doubts have mounted over whether Trump’s administration can secure what he has called the “ultimate deal” since December, when the US president recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and then moved the US Embassy there.
Trump said “it is a dream of mine” to secure an agreement before the end of his term in office in early 2021.
“I don’t want to do it in my second term. We’ll do other things in my second term,” he said. “I think a lot of progress has been made.”
Netanyahu said after meeting Trump he was “not surprised” at the U.S. president’s preference for a two-state solution for peace with the Palestinians, Israeli media reports said.
Jerusalem is one of the major issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both sides claim it as their capital. Trump’s move outraged the Palestinians, who have since boycotted Washington’s peace efforts, led by Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner.
The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Israel captured those territories in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed East Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally. It regards all of the city as its eternal and indivisible capital.