update deskIsrael at War

Netanyahu doubles down on opposition to any recognition of Palestinian state

The Israeli premier will bring a motion against any such eventuality for a vote in the full Knesset.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a Cabinet meeting at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, Dec. 31, 2023. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a Cabinet meeting at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, Dec. 31, 2023. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday night again came out forcefully against the prospect of any unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, amid reports the Biden administration is considering such a move.

The prime minister also announced he would bring a motion against the prospect for a vote in the Knesset plenum.

“For five months we have been running an unprecedented political campaign, which has allowed our fighters the freedom of action to achieve all the goals of the war,” began Netanyahu. “During this period, we resisted many international pressures aimed at stopping the war.

“But in the last few days we are witnessing a new type of pressure: An attempt to unilaterally impose upon us the establishment of a Palestinian state that would endanger the existence of Israel,” continued the premier.

“We reject it outright,” he said.

On Sunday, the Israeli Cabinet unanimously approved a statement rejecting any unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood.

Netanyahu’s office subsequently released the text of the statement:

1. Israel utterly rejects international diktats regarding a permanent settlement with the Palestinians. A settlement, if it is to be reached, will come about solely through direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions.

2. Israel will continue to oppose unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. Such recognition in the wake of the October 7th massacre would be a massive and unprecedented reward to terrorism and would prevent any future peace settlement.

“While there are different opinions within the government regarding a permanent arrangement, this proposal was unanimously accepted by all participants in the government. We are all united in the position that Israel must not submit to international diktats on such an existential matter,” said Netanyahu on Monday.

“I welcome that, and I am bringing the agreed proposal for Knesset approval. I am sure it will win an overwhelming majority, which will make clear to the world that there is very broad unity within Israel against the international attempt to impose a Palestinian state,” he added.

Netanyahu insisted that he was foremost responsible for preventing such an eventuality during his over 16 cumulative years spanning six terms in office.

“My position was and remains clear, and only got stronger after the terrible massacre of Oct. 7,” said Netanyahu.

“In any situation, with or without a permanent settlement [with the Palestinians], Israel will maintain full security control over the entire area west of Jordan. This of course includes Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip,” he continued.

“Even those who have different opinions agree that after Oct. 7, we must make decisions concerning our existence and our future ourselves. Therefore, I call on all Zionist parties to vote in favor of the proposal we are bringing to the Knesset,” concluded the premier.

Speaking at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations annual conference in Jerusalem on Sunday, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew seemed to downplay reports that Washington is considering recognizing a Palestinian state.

“Underscoring everything is that Israel must be secure. This means that Israel must be responsible for defending itself, and there cannot be a militarized Palestinian state,” Lew stated.

However, “if the normalization conversation with Saudi Arabia is to be achieved, there must be an over-the-horizon process that includes a vision for a demilitarized Palestinian state,” he added.

On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that the Biden administration was preparing to make a major push for Palestinian statehood.

According to the report, the U.S. and its Arab partners are “rushing” to finalize a plan to establish a Palestinian state, which could be announced in the next few weeks if a deal to release the remaining 134 hostages held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza in exchange for a six-week pause in the war takes effect before the start of Ramadan next month.

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