Trump's Secretary of State  falls into J-Street trap

Susie Dym,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Susie Dym
Susie Dym serves as spokesperson for Mattot Arim, with over 20 years of expertise on "peace-for-peace" issues.
Rex Tillerson
Reuters

President-elect Donald Trump’s Secretary of State Designate Rex Tillerson fell into a J-Street trap on Wednesday and endorsed the so-called “2-state solution” -- in the course of his confirmation hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Support for the “2-state solution” did not appear to be part of Tillerson’s originally stated po‎sitions and was, instead, a response to a leading question from a senator closely associated with J-Street.

The “2-state solution” calls for establishing, in addition to the existing state of Jordan, another Palestinian state – located immediately adjacent to Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem and Israel’s sole international airport. Many prominent Israelis oppose this.

According to a transc‎ript published here:  http://edition.cnn.com/TRANsc‎riptS/1701/11/cnr.08.html the exchange between Virgina Senator Tim Kaine (D) and Tillerson was this:

KAINE: Mr. Tillerson, thank you. I encourage people to fly north to south not just east and west, and other parts of the world have a claim in our attention, but there are some real opportunities. I assume you support the U.S. po‎sition that's been in place since the 1940s to do what we can to provide a two-state solution with Israel and Palestine with a living peacefully side by side, that is the dream we hope for that region and I assume that you support that? 

TILLERSON: I don't think anyone would take a po‎sition they don't hope for peace in that area for the issues to be ultimately resolved.

KAINE: And peace within the context of two-state solution as was determined by the U.N. and been the bipartisan policy since the late 1940s? 

TILLERSON: I think that's the dream everyone is in pursuit of. Whether it can be a reality remains to be seen. 

KAINE: I think that's right that's frustrated all of us that's been the bipartisan policy since the late 1940s? 

TILLERSON: I think that's the dream everyone is in pursuit of. Whether it can be a reality remains to be seen. 

KAINE: I think that's right that's frustrated all of us that's been so little progress so what do you think from the secretary of state's po‎sition you could do to try to hasten the day when we could find a path forward? People didn't think you could find a peace deal for Ireland.

TILLERSON: I'm glad you put it in the context of hundreds of years. That was euphemistic. But I think it is indicative of how conflicts like this take a long time and sometimes it takes another generation to have a changed view. Oftentimes we just have to try and make the situation as stable as possible and limit the impacts on people that are living there now. The Palestinian people have suffered a lot under, under their own leadership in many cases as a result of there not being more progress made. So, I think it has to be a shared aspiration of all of us that that ultimately is resolved. 

The issues are long-standing and I think it's the state department's role to create, try to create an environment that brings parties together to want to find a way forward. I can tell you under the conditions today that's just -- it's extremely challenging to do that, but that has to be the aspirational goal. And to your example, sometimes it takes a different generation that's not carrying all that baggage of the past with them. 

KAINE: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chair. 

Support for 2-state was absent in Mr. Tillerson’s prepared statement whose complete text is here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/r/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2017/01/10/Editorial-Opinion/Graphics/011117_Tillerson_Opening_Statement-1.pdf. Therefore, Tillerson’s endorsement of 2-state clearly appears to be the personal achievement of Senator Kaine.

Times of Israel, a left-leaning Israeli media organization, described Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat,  as “a darling of the liberal Middle East advocacy group J Street”.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/trump-secretary-of-state-pick-two-state-solution-must-remain-the-aspiration/?link_id=6&can_id=097a85bdca0455e872aa62f6d0862675&source=email-what-were-reading-palestinians-face-collective-punishment&email_referrer=what-were-reading-palestinians-face-collective-punishment&email_subject=what-were-reading-palestinians-face-collective-punishment

On the other hand, Trump's choice for Defense Secretary, Ret. Gen. James Mattis, may have been more cautious, saying only  – according to CNN -  that he would support a two-state solution “if it promotes peace” and would "be open to other solutions” as well.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/james-mattis-confirmation-hearing-for-defense-secretary-live-blog/

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/01/12/politics/mattis-tel-aviv-jerusalem/index.html



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