Israeli Prime Minister NETANYAHU publicly rejects US calls for creation of Palestinian State after war

Friday, January 19, 2024
 – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has opposed the United States’ demand to establish a Palestinian state once the conflict in Gaza comes to an end.

In a news conference, Netanyahu vowed to press on with the offensive in Gaza “until complete victory”, the destruction of Hamas and return of the remaining Israeli hostages, adding that it could take “many more months”.

With almost 25,000 Palestinians killed in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, and 85% of the strip’s population displaced, Israel is under intense pressure to rein in its offensive and engage in meaningful talks over a sustainable end to the war.

Israel’s allies, including the US and it's enemies have urged a revival of the long-dormant “two-state solution”, in which a future Palestinian state would sit side-by-side with an Israeli one.

The hope in many circles is that the current crisis could force the warring parties back to diplomacy, as the only viable alternative to endless cycles of violence.

During Thursday’s news conference, he said Israel must have security control over all land west of the River Jordan, which would include the territory of any future Palestinian state.

“This is a necessary condition, and it conflicts with the idea of (Palestinian) sovereignty. What to do? I tell this truth to our American friends, and I also stopped the attempt to impose a reality on us that would harm Israel’s security,” he said.

Netanyahu has spent much of his political career opposing Palestinian statehood, boasting just last month that he was proud to have prevented its establishment.

But the very public rebuttal of Washington’s advice, and determination to continue the current military course, might cause tensions with Israel’s western allies.

Since the 7 October attacks – the worst in Israel’s history, when Hamas gunmen killed about 1,300 Israelis and took some 240 hostage, the US has supported Israel's right to defend itself.

Responding to Netanyahu’s latest comments, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said his government would not stop working towards a two-state solution, adding there would be “no reoccupation of Gaza.”

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