The issue

The United States has long advocated for a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

The facts

The creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel has been the official policy of the United States through successive Republican and Democratic presidential administrations. Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory, the division of Jerusalem, and the security of both states have made this a difficult goal to achieve.

President Trump has indicated he may make sweeping pro-Israel changes to U.S. foreign policy. Most significantly, his pick for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, supports moving the United States embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and the continued expansion of Israeli settlements on occupied land — two moves that may drastically inflame tensions in the region.

Why it matters

On February 14, ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to the United States, a senior Trump official said that Middle East peace is the goal but indicated that it might not come in the form of a two-state solution.

That's significant because Trump administration has presented a muddled view of its Middle East policy in recent weeks, previously signaling its support for a two-state solution, pushing back on Israel over settlements, and demurring on its pledge to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Anything other a two-state solution would be a radical change to decades of U.S. — and indeed, international — policy.

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