In his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, former ExxonMobil CEO and Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson said that a “two-state solution” is an “aspirational goal” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but he also shed doubt on whether or not it could come to fruition.
“I think [the ‘two-state solution’] is the dream that everyone is in pursuit of,” Tillerson said in his hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Whether it can ever be a reality remains to be seen.”
Tillerson, whose views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were previously unknown, said the two-state plan “has to be a shared aspiration of all of us. I think it’s the State Department’s role to try and create an environment that brings parties together that want to find a way forward. I can tell you that under the conditions today, it’s extremely challenging to do that, but that has to be the aspirational goal.”
President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of state appointee also singled out the Palestinians for the current deadlock in the peace process with Israel.
“I would say in the case of the Palestinian leadership, while they have renounced violence, it is one thing to renounce it and another to take concrete action to prevent it,” Tillerson said.
“I think until there is a serious demonstration on their part and they are willing to do more than just renounce violence, they are willing to do something to at least interrupt it or interfere with it, it is very difficult to create conditions at the table for parties to have any productive discussion around a settlement,” he added.
Tillerson was also asked for his thoughts on the recent United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israel for its settlement policy, and whether or not the measure disproportionately blamed Israel for the conflict.
“Israel is, has always been and remains our most important ally in the region,” he said. “The U.N. resolution that was passed, in my view, is not helpful. It actually undermines a good set of conditions for talks to continue.”
Regarding the Iran nuclear deal, Tillerson said he would recommend “a full review of that agreement” with President-elect Trump, adding that “the real important question is what comes at the end of this agreement.”