Israel PM Lapid 'to back two-state plan at UN' despite continued settlement expansion in occupied West Bank

Israel PM Lapid 'to back two-state plan at UN' despite continued settlement expansion in occupied West Bank
Israel's caretaker prime minister is expected to speak in support of the establishment of an independent Palestinian state at the UN on Wednesday, but Tel Aviv continues to violate Palestinian rights in the occupied territories.
2 min read
22 September, 2022
Yair Lapid became caretaker prime minister of Israel in July [AFP via Getty]

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid will speak in support of a two-state solution at the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, senior Israeli officials have said.

But in areas Palestinians want control of for an independent Palestinian state, Lapid and his coalition government - co-led by Naftali Bennett until July - have overseen massive rights violations that would put any prospect of a two-state solution in jeopardy.

Though he has criticised settlement construction in the West Bank before, Lapid and his predecessor Naftali Bennett have overseen massive settlement construction in the occupied territory, according to local rights groups.

All Jewish settlements in the West Bank, occupied by Israel since 1967, are considered illegal by most of the international community. According to UN figures, there are as many as 700,000 settlers living in the West Bank, which is seen as part of Israel's attempts to annex the Palestinian territory.

Meanwhile, Palestinians in these territories find it almost impossible to obtain building permits.

In occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli security forces have continued to aid raids on Muslim and Christian holy sites.

When Lapid became caretaker prime minister on 1 July, Israel launched a bombing campaign on the besieged Gaza Strip that killed 49 Palestinians and injured hundreds more.

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Lapid's plans to speak in support of the two-state solution have been met with anger by his opponents and even some of his allies.

Justice Minister Gideon Saar, who serves in Lapid's coalition, said that putting a two-state solution in place would "endanger Israeli's safety" and that "most Israeli people and their representatives will not allow that to happen", according to Haaretz.

Bennett, a close ally of Lapid who has strongly backed settlement expansions, said the solution was outdated and had "no place or logic" echoing his continued opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Meanwhile, the left wing of his coalition has said that he is not going far enough, and should meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the sidelines of the UNGA.