Labour leader Keir Starmer slams Israeli PM Netanyahu's rejection of Palestinian state

Labour leader Keir Starmer slams Israeli PM Netanyahu's rejection of Palestinian state
Starmer said the two-state solution is an "inalienable right of the Palestinian people", following Netanyahu's rejection of the framework earlier this week.
2 min read
20 January, 2024
Starmer described Netanyahu's firm rejection of a Palestinian state "wrong and unacceptable" in an interview with UK media this week [Getty/file photo]

Labour leader Keir Starmer on Friday criticised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement outright rejecting a notion two-state solution alongside Palestine.

Starmer said it was "wrong and unacceptable" for the Israeli premier to be opposed to the creation of an two-state framework in an interview with UK broadcaster ITV.

The Labour leader’s comments come as Netanyahu made the remarks to the White House earlier this week, where he publicly rejected the US' push for a two-state solution for when Israel's brutal offensive in Gaza ends.

Netanyahu also added that he wants all territory west of the Jordan river to be under full Israeli security control should Tel Aviv's war on the besieged enclave come to an end.

"Palestinian statehood is not in the gift of a neighbour, it's the inalienable right of the Palestinian people. It's also the only way to a secure settlement and secure future," Starmer said.

"A Labour government would work with international partners to that two state solution. A safe and secure Israel alongside a viable Palestinian state."

Netanyahu’s statement on Thursday can be described as his most firm rebuttal of US foreign policy, despite Washington providing extensive financial military support as Tel Aviv's long-standing ally.

The White House responded by saying the US would continue working towards a two-state solution maintaining that it is the only feasible way to bring lasting peace to the region.

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Throughout most of Israel’s offensive in Gaza, Starmer stressed Israel’s right to defend itself, which caused friction among his party.

The Labour Party’s also suffered a major rebellion in November last year after 56 members voted in favour for a ceasefire in Gaza, while many of the party's members resigned in protest over Labour's stance regarding the war in the territory.

However, as the casualties in Gaza increased dramatically, Starmer went on to label the massacres carried out by Israel as "intolerable" and welcomed a UN Security Council vote in December calling for a "sustainable ceasefire" in the Strip.

The UK opposition party and Starmer in particular still remain subject to criticism from politicians, notably the Scottish National Party (SNP) led by Humza Yousaf, for lacking a strong international leadership on the war in Gaza.