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20 Jan, 2024 22:06

US and Israel at odds over Gaza’s fate

The Israeli prime minister has openly contradicted the US president's insistence on Palestinian statehood
US and Israel at odds over Gaza’s fate

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he refuses to compromise with Washington on a potential two-state solution for post-war Gaza – despite US President Joe Biden’s insistence that the pair were in agreement, after speaking by telephone for the first time in a month.

“I will not compromise on full Israeli security control over the entire area west of Jordan - and this is contrary to a Palestinian state,” Netanyahu wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Saturday, reiterating his often-stated position on the subject.

Biden claimed after the phone conversation on Friday that a two-state solution was not impossible under Israel's current government, insisting there were multiple types of solutions that could fit the bill. 

However, Netanyahu has repeatedly and strenuously argued against any form of independent Palestinian government and reminded an audience earlier this week that he had been working for “30 years” to prevent the development of a Palestinian state. 

In the future, the state of Israel has to control the entire area from the river to the sea. This is what happens when you have sovereignty,” the prime minister told reporters during a televised press conference, referring to the Jordan River and the Red Sea - boundaries that many Palestinians consider to be the borders of their own rightful state. 

Netanyahu even appeared to flaunt his disagreement with Israel’s allies in Washington, noting that he had “told this truth to our friends, the Americans,” stopping what he described as “the attempt to impose on us a reality that will jeopardize us.” 

A prime minister in Israel has to be able to say no, even to the best of friends,” he continued.

The US continues to defend Israel in the face of growing allegations from the international community of war crimes in Gaza, where the Israel Defense Forces have killed over 25,000 Palestinians since October 7, the majority of them women and children. 

However, some senior American officials have grown more vocal regarding their desire for a two-state solution – long heralded by the UN and others as the only potentially peaceful outcome for the region – even in the face of Israeli opposition. 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken insisted on Wednesday that some form of Palestinian self-governance was necessary for Israel to “get genuine security.” Earlier this month, he claimed Arab leaders were eager to help rebuild Gaza “through a regional approach that includes a pathway to a Palestinian state.” 

Washington has called for the Palestinian Authority, which governs the occupied West Bank, to assume control of Gaza after Hamas is defeated, though Netanyahu has repeatedly threatened to keep the war he declared following Hamas’ October 7 incursion going into 2025.