Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly rejected establishing a Palestinian state after the war in Gaza ends despite the wishes of the US, Israel’s closest ally.
The US has said that a “two-state solution” where Israel and a future Palestinian state existing side-by-side is the only way towards a lasting peace.
But speaking at a press conference on Thursday Jan. 18, Netanyahu said that the war is not about the absence of a Palestinian state but the existence of the Jewish state.
He said that even after the war ends, Israel must have security control over all the land west of the River Jordan.
“That’s a necessary condition. It clashes with the principle of sovereignty, but what can you do?” Netanyahu said.
“I tell this truth to our American friends, and I also stopped the attempt to impose a reality on us that would harm Israel’s security,” he said. “A prime minister in Israel should be able to say no even to our best friends, say no when necessary and say yes when possible.”
On Friday, US President Joe Biden said he had spoken to Netanyahu on the phone about possible solutions for establishing an independent Palestinian state.
But the next day, Netanyahu defied Biden and doubled down on his comments with a post on X, writing, “I will not compromise on full Israeli security control over the entire area in the west of Jordan – and this is contrary to a Palestinian state.”
Netanyahu has spent years stating his opposition to Palestinian statehood, boasting just last month that he was proud to have blocked a Palestinian state from being established.
He has said that nothing will stop Israel from achieving “complete victory” in Gaza, not even South Africa’s ongoing case in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Israel committing genocide against Palestinians.
More than 25,000 Palestinians in Gaza have now been killed by Israel’s airstrikes and ground offensive since Oct. 7, with most of them being women and children.
The United Nations’ Secretary-General António Guterres has denounced Israel for the deaths, calling it “heartbreaking and utterly unacceptable”.
“Israel’s military operations have spread mass destruction and killed civilians on a scale unprecedented during my time as secretary-general,” Guterres said on Sunday Jan. 21 at the opening of a summit in Kampala, the capital of Uganda.
He also said that it was totally unacceptable for Israel to refuse to accept a two-state solution, saying that denying Palestinians the right to statehood “would indefinitely prolong a conflict that has become a major threat to global peace and security”.