JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a delegation of Republican senators who visited Israel last week that he still supports a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Netanyahu stressed his support despite the fact that the Republican Party last month removed support for a two-state solution from its platform, the Times of Israel reported Wednesday citing Montana Sen. Steve Daines, a member of the delegation.
“In virtually every meeting we had, including with the prime minister, there was always hope that the parties will return to negotiations,” Daines told the Times of Israel after returning from the trip. “But those need to be bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”
Daines told the Israel-based news website that Netanyahu stood by his 2009 speech at Bar-Ilan University, in which he called for “two peoples [to] live freely, side by side, in amity and mutual respect.”
Daines supports a two-state solution provided the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
The two-state concept has long been a pillar of both Democratic and Republican policy in the region, and a stated policy of Netanyahu, although not of his government. The Democratic Party platform retained the party’s commitment to the two-state solution.