National Security Adviser John Bolton clarified for a reporter on Wednesday that Palestine is "not a state" when asked why he referred to it as a "so-called state."
"You just addressed Palestine and said it is a so-called state. Is that language productive?" a reporter asked, prompting Bolton to say his comment was "accurate" and that "it is not a state."
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The reporter referenced President Donald Trump's support for a two-state solution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict last week and asked whether Bolton's language is productive in helping him achieve his goals.
"Yeah, sure. Of course. It's not a state now. It does not meet the customary international law test of statehood. It doesn't control defined boundaries. It doesn't fulfill the normal functions of government. There's a whole host of reasons why it's not a state," Bolton said. "It could become a state as the president said, but that requires diplomatic negotiations with Israel and others, so calling it the so-called state of Palestine defines exactly what it has been."
Bolton said the "so-called state of Palestine" description reflects a "position the United States government has pursued uniformly since 1988 when the Palestinian Authority declared itself to be the State of Palestine."
"We don't recognize it as the State of Palestine, we have consistently across Democratic and Republican administrations opposed the admission of Palestine to the United Nations as a state because it's not a state," Bolton said.
Last week, Trump reverted to his prior stance on whether a "two-state will happen."
"If the Israelis and the Palestinians want one state, that's OK with me. If they want two-state, that's OK with me. I'm happy if they're happy," he said.
"I really believe something will happen. They say it's the toughest of deals," Trump added, taking questions alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "It is a dream of mine to be able to get that done prior to the end of my first term."