Netanyahu again rejects Palestinian sovereignty as US pushes again for

Netanyahu again rejects Palestinian sovereignty as US pushes again for two-state solution – CNN

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv on January 7.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday rejected calls for Palestinian sovereignty after talks with US President Joe Biden over Gaza's future, suggesting that Israel's security needs were incompatible with Palestinian statehood.

“I will not compromise on full Israeli security control over the entire area west of Jordan – and that is inconsistent with a Palestinian state,” Netanyahu said in a post on X

The Israeli leader did not provide further details in his one-line post in Hebrew. The area west of Jordan includes Israel, the occupied West Bank and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, where Israel is battling the militant group after the Oct. 7 attacks.

Biden and his top officials – including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who visited Israel and the region last week – said creating a Palestinian state with guarantees of Israel's security was the only way to finally bring peace and stability to the Middle East.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called opposition to a two-state solution “unacceptable” on Sunday.

“The refusal to accept the two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians and the denial of the right to statehood for the Palestinian people are unacceptable,” Guterres wrote on X.

Amid reports that the United States, Egypt and Qatar want Israel to enter a new phase of talks with Hamas, Netanyahu this weekend also publicly rejected what he described as Hamas's conditions for the release of more Israeli hostages from Gaza referred to: an end to the war, the withdrawal of Israel's Israeli forces from the Palestinian enclave and the release of more Palestinians from Israeli prisons.

“If we agree to this, our soldiers will have fallen in vain. If we agree to this, we cannot guarantee the safety of our citizens,” Netanyahu said on Sunday.

Netanyahu's comments come amid a disagreement with the United States, Israel's main ally, over what Gaza will look like after the conflict ends, exposing the complex situation in which Netanyahu finds himself.

The Israeli prime minister faces competing pressure from the international community to facilitate the creation of a viable Palestinian state and to ensure Israel's security domestically, particularly from the far-right members of his coalition.

To make matters worse, he is also facing calls for early elections, with thousands taking to the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday. Critics accused Netanyahu of prolonging the war to stay in power. War Cabinet Minister Gadi Eisenkot hopes this will not be the case, but also says the elections should take place within a few months.

According to CNN reports, Netanhahu's statement on Palestinian sovereignty appears to contradict what he told President Biden a day earlier. Netanyahu told Biden in a private phone call on Friday that he was not ruling out the possibility of a Palestinian state in some form, a person familiar with the conversation told CNN.

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Self-propelled artillery howitzers roll along the border with the Gaza Strip in southern Israel on January 19.

Biden administration officials have recently been involved in discussions about a future demilitarized Palestinian state, an idea the US president finds “intriguing,” the source said.

After the phone call, his first in weeks, Biden told reporters he believed Netanyahu could ultimately be persuaded by some kind of two-state solution. “There are different types of two-state solutions,” he said.

“There are a number of countries that are members of the United Nations and still do not have their own military; There are a number of states that have restrictions and so I think there are ways that this can work,” Biden added.

But the day after Biden's speech, the Israeli Prime Minister's Office said in a statement: “In his conversation with President Biden, Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated his policy that after the destruction of Hamas, Israel must maintain security control over Gaza to ensure that Gaza is no longer remain in Gaza.” represent a threat to Israel, a demand that contradicts the demand for Palestinian sovereignty.”

Biden and Netanyahu remain publicly at odds over what will happen to Gaza when the war between Israel and Hamas ends, despite intensive American efforts in recent months to engage officials in Israel and across the region on a plan , which they hope can finally resolve the decades-long conflict.

The two-state solution has been the goal of the international community for decades and dates back to the UN Partition Plan of 1947. Many nations say this is the only way out of the conflict.

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President Joe Biden answers questions from members of the press at the White House on January 18.

How Gaza will be governed after the war remains an open question, but Netanyahu has long objected to a two-state solution.

And while Netanyahu's stance is controversial internationally, he faces pressure from more right-wing members of his cabinet who have sparked outrage with their suggestions about what should happen to the people of Gaza.

Far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has championed the idea of ​​a Palestinian exodus from Gaza. He and far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir sparked anger when they advocated for the relocation of Palestinians outside the Gaza Strip.