Netanyahu says Israel will be from the river to the sea, publicly rejects US push for two-state solution
The US has reiterated that the only way to end the Gaza war was to establish a Palestinian state, after the Israeli prime minister said that he told Washington he rejected any Palestinian statehood that did not guarantee Israel's security.
"I clarify that in any arrangement in the foreseeable future, with an accord or without an accord, Israel must have security control over the entire territory west of the Jordan River. That's a necessary condition. It clashes with the principle of sovereignty but what can you do," Benjamin Netanyahu said during a press conference in Tel Aviv.
He added that the lack of Palestinian statehood had not stood in the way of normalisation agreements with Arab states a few years ago and that he still intended to add more countries to those accords.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller responded to Netanyahu's comments on Thursday, saying that Israel had an opportunity right now as countries in the region were ready to provide security assurances to Israel.
"But there is no way to solve their long-term challenges to provide lasting security and there is no way to solve the short-term challenges of rebuilding Gaza and establishing governance in Gaza and providing security for Gaza without the establishment of a Palestinian state."
Israel and its biggest backer the United States appear at odds now, with Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition government largely rejecting the establishment of a Palestinian state even though Washington maintains that the two-state solution is the only feasible way to bring lasting peace to the region.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in his fourth trip to the Middle East last week since the October 7 attack by Hamas, took a rough agreement to Israel that its predominately Muslim neighbors would help rehabilitate Gaza after the war and continue economic integration with Israel, but only if it committed to eventually allowing the creation of an independent Palestinian state.
U.S.-brokered talks on a Palestinian state in territory now occupied by Israel collapsed almost a decade ago.
Under a vision to permanently control Gaza, Israeli ministers are calling to ethnically cleanse Palestinians and rebuild settlements. Here's why Gaza is a war of conquest for Israel's religious right-wing 👇 https://t.co/j2Js6txEt0— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) January 14, 2024
Despite the disagreements, U.S. support for longtime ally Israel "remains ironclad," Miller said.
"This is not a question of the United States pressuring them to do anything. This is about the United States laying out for them the opportunity that they have."
Israel’s air and ground offensive have killed close to 25,000 people, mostly civilians, since October 7.
The bombardment came the day Hamas launched a surprise attack in southern Israel, killing an estimated 1,100 people and taking more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli figures. Israel says more than 130 remain in captivity in Gaza.
Hamas said its attack was in response to Israel's blockade of Gaza and aggression towards the Palestinians.