US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to publicly endorse the two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Wednesday.
Democratic Senator Tim Kaine asked Pompeo if he thought a peace agreement including two separate states for Israel and the Palestinians was outdated.
"It's certainly an idea that's been around a long time, Senator," Pompeo replied.
"I would argue that millions of man-hours have been spent to try and build out a two-state solution. It hasn't worked to date. It may work this afternoon, but it hasn't," he continued. "Ultimately the individuals in the region will sort this out. We want good things for the Palestinians."
The hearing comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party beat the rival Blue and White party in the national election. The win has set Netanyahu on a clear path to his fifth term as prime minister, making him Israel's longest-serving prime minister in the nation's history.
Before the election, Netanyahu said he would annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank if his party won. Annexation is a controversial move because historically, Palestinians want a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.
Kaine asked Pompeo if the United States would support, oppose, or be indifferent to Israel's potential annexation.
"We are now working with many parties to share what our vision [is] as to how to resolve this problem," Pompeo responded. "For decades, there had been all these wonderful experts that have tried to resolve this crisis in the Middle East, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people, and they have each failed. So the old set of ideas aren't worth retreading. They have simply not succeeded. We are hopeful that our vision, our ideas about what this might look like, how we might proceed to do that, will create the conditions where the Israelis and the Palestinians can resolve this."
He added the Trump Administration "has been working on a set of ideas" for peace that he hopes to present.