Israeli ministers oppose any plan for a Palestinian state

Israeli ministers oppose any plan for a Palestinian state

Two influential far-right Israeli ministers on Thursday strongly rejected the possibility of a peace plan that Washington and its allies are considering, according to some media outlets, to release hostages held in Gaza and advance the creation of a Palestinian state.

• Also read: Netanyahu promises a “powerful” operation in Rafah “after” the civilians leave

• Also read: Abbas calls on Hamas to “quickly conclude” a deal.

According to the Washington Post, the Biden administration and a small group of its Arab allies are working on a comprehensive plan aimed at establishing lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

These include, in particular, a pause in fighting, the release of the hostages kidnapped by Hamas during the October 7 attacks in Israel and held in Gaza since then, and a timetable for the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state.

“An initial ceasefire, expected to last at least six weeks, would allow time to announce the plan, gather additional support” and “begin implementing” its provisions, including “the formation of an 'interim Palestinian government'.” ” the daily quoted American and Arab officials as saying.

Proponents of this plan hope to reach an agreement before March 10, the start of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.

But the prospect of such a plan has been vehemently denounced by Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

“We will never agree to such a plan, which actually says that the Palestinians deserve compensation for the terrible massacre they committed,” Mr. Smotrich wrote on the social network. “This poses an existential threat to the State of Israel, as demonstrated on October 7,” he added.

“1,400 people were killed (on October 7 in Israel) and the world wants to give them a state.” That will not happen,” said Mr. Ben Gvir on X. “Establishing a Palestinian state is tantamount to establishing a Hamas state .”

Israel is continuing its military offensive in the Gaza Strip, while parallel negotiations on a ceasefire, including new hostage releases by Hamas, which is in power in the territory, and Palestinians detained by Israel, continue in Cairo under the mediation of Qatar and Egypt.

A Hamas delegation was expected in Cairo on Wednesday, according to a movement source, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already denounced the Islamist movement's “delusional demands” which he said would block negotiations.