Well, this is new

I’ll believe it when I see it, but this is encouraging:

US officials continue to maintain that American policy towards Israel will undergo changes in the wake of pre-election comments made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which he stated that no Palestinian state would be established on his watch.

Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories has lasted for nearly five decades and “must end,” White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said in a Monday address to the left-leaning Jewish American lobby group J Street.

“Israel cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely,” he said. “An occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end, and the Palestinian people must have the right to live in and govern themselves in their own sovereign state.”

McDonough reiterated America’s long-standing support for a two-state solution to the impasse between Israelis and Palestinians – an agreement that would be based on 1967 lines and include mutually agreed land swaps. However, he said Netanyahu’s comments have cast doubt upon Israel’s commitment to such an agreement, despite the prime minister’s attempts to backtrack in the wake of his re-election on March 17.

“We cannot simply pretend that those comments were never made, or that they don’t raise questions about the prime minister’s commitment to achieving peace through direct negotiations,” McDonough told the crowd, as quoted by the Guardian.