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May 29, 2024

Biden and Netanyahu at Odds Over Palestinian Statehood

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Jan 21, 2024

According to recent statements by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he told President Biden that Israel opposes the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state. This puts the two leaders at odds over a key issue in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Netanyahu Doubles Down Against Palestinian State

In an interview with CNN, Netanyahu asserted that there will be “no sovereignty” for Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, the biblical name for the West Bank. He declared that Israel plans to control security in Gaza after the current war with Hamas concludes.

Netanyahu reiterated this defiant position in remarks to Likud lawmakers, saying:

“If it depends on me, there will be no other sovereignty west of the Jordan. The only power that can have sovereignty here is the State of Israel.”

His stance puts Netanyahu on a collision course with President Biden and much of the international community regarding Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. The White House supports a two-state solution with both Israel and an independent Palestinian state coexisting peacefully side-by-side.

Biden Administration Pushes Back

Secretary of State Antony Blinken asserted there is no way to truly solve Israel’s security situation without establishing a Palestinian state. He warned that denying Palestinian aspirations for self-determination risks further conflict and loss of Israeli and Palestinian lives.

However, President Biden has stopped short of directly criticizing Netanyahu, only vaguely stating he hopes the Israeli leader’s position will change over time. Sources say Biden wants to preserve U.S. influence with the Israeli government rather than strain the relationship.

President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu
President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu during an earlier meeting at the White House (Democracy Now)

Meanwhile, a group of Jewish Democratic members of Congress blasted Netanyahu for his rejection of Palestinian statehood. They accused him of sabotaging prospects for a negotiated two-state peace agreement.

Likely Impacts and What’s Next

Refusing to accept Palestinian sovereignty virtually ensures the conflict will continue indefinitely. As long as Palestinians lack basic rights and self-determination, groups like Hamas can earn support by attacking Israel.

Without hope for statehood, moderate Palestinian leaders will also lose legitimacy in favor of extremists who reject negotiations altogether. This risks spiraling instability and violence.

For Israel’s part, controlling millions more Palestinians threatens its Jewish demographic majority. Formally annexing large parts of the West Bank could trigger economic sanctions and international isolation as well.

Impacts if Israel Rules Out Palestinian State
* Perpetual conflict and terrorism against Israel
* Popular support grows for Palestinian extremist factions
* Moderate Palestinian leaders undermined
* Risks Israeli demographic majority
* Potential for international sanctions on Israel

While President Biden wants to avoid an open rift with Netanyahu, he will likely increase pressure privately. Some analysts believe he may go public with criticism if Netanyahu formally annexes West Bank territory.

Congress could also take punitive actions like restricting military aid to Israel, although domestic support for Israel remains high.

Ultimately, the lasting deadlock puts a negotiated two-state solution further out of reach. It deepens a situation where neither Israelis nor Palestinians can expect to achieve long-term peace or stability.

International Reaction

Support for Palestinian Statehood

Nations worldwide overwhelmingly endorse creating a sovereign Palestinian state, which has been formal policy for decades.

French President Emmanuel Macron decried Netanyahu’s statehood comments, asserting “there is no alternative to the two-state solution.” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also restated the UK’s backing for Palestinian statehood.

Canada’s Justin Trudeau called Netanyahu’s rejection of Palestinian sovereignty “extremely concerning.” Trudeau stressed that “the path forward must involve Israelis and Palestinians living side-by-side in peace and security.”

Opposing Viewpoints

Right-wing politicians aligned with Netanyahu praised his defiance toward Biden and the global consensus.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump hailed the Israeli leader for “standing up for the Jewish homeland.” Hardline conservatives argue Palestinian autonomy inevitably leads to increased terrorism against Israel.

The Palestinian militant group Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum accused the U.S. of enabling “genocidal warfare” against Palestinians. Following Netanyahu’s remarks, Baroum derided the Biden administration for continuing to talk about a future Palestinian state.

Other Palestinian figures warned that denying them basic rights risks triggering a single struggle for equal civil rights with Jewish citizens. This would undermine Israel’s status as a Jewish homeland.

Final Analysis

Netanyahu has doubled down on his lifelong opposition to Palestinian sovereignty, directly rebuffing President Biden’s hopes for a two-state peace deal. This entrenches tensions between the allies while virtually ensuring endless conflict with Palestinians.

It remains to be seen whether persistent U.S. and international pressure can eventually sway Netanyahu toward accepting some form of limited Palestinian autonomy. However, his decisive statements make a negotiated solution drastically less likely any time soon.

Without a diplomatic off-ramp in sight, both Israeli and Palestinian societies seem destined for an anguished future marked by bloodshed and strife. The dream of two independent states living harmoniously feels more distant than ever.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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