Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has doubled down on his opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state, directly contradicting the Biden administration’s calls for a two-state solution following the recent war between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza. Netanyahu’s defiant stance risks severely straining U.S.-Israel relations and torpedoing American efforts to broker a lasting peace in the region.
Netanyahu Tells U.S. No Palestinian State After Gaza War
In multiple statements over the past week, Netanyahu has unambiguously rejected the establishment of a Palestinian state under any postwar scenario.
“I have told the Americans and the region, no way, no way, no way,” Netanyahu said when asked about Palestinian statehood.
He elaborated further in a speech to supporters, vowing that “there will be no more withdrawals” and that Israel would maintain perpetual security control in Gaza.
no' to a terrorist state in the heart of our country, no’ to a state that would threaten our existence,” Netanyahu proclaimed.
American officials expressed dismay at Netanyahu’s pronouncements. The White House dismissed them as unhelpful to resolving the conflict, while State Department spokesman Ned Price argued that Palestinian statehood is an essential component of Israel’s security.
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called Netanyahu’s rhetoric “incredibly counterproductive” and warned it could jeopardize U.S. military assistance to Israel.
U.S. and Allies Seek Regional Support for Palestinian State
Prior to Netanyahu’s remarks, American diplomats had been actively engaging regional partners on establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza as part of a final settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.
As reported by Israeli media, the Biden administration recently presented Netanyahu with a proposal to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians, normalize relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and form a regional security alliance against Iran.
Netanyahu allegedly refused the offer due to its inclusion of Palestinian statehood. Saudi officials subsequently denied having any talks with the U.S. or Israel about normalization.
The White House refrained from directly commenting on these leaked details. But National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stressed that the U.S. and its allies believe the only plausible resolution to the conflict involves both guaranteeing Israel’s security and recognizing Palestinian rights to self-determination.
“We will continue consulting closely with Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Arab nations, European powers and other international stakeholders on building the conditions necessary for a just and enduring peace,” Sullivan said.
Israel Intensifies Gaza Strikes, Peace Prospects Dim
Hostilities in Gaza flared up again this week as Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carried out some of their heaviest bombardments since the 2023 war began last November.
IDF jets conducted over 130 airstrikes across Gaza on Tuesday, hitting Islamic Jihad and Hamas militant sites located near densely populated areas. Gaza health officials reported that at least 16 Palestinian civilians were killed, including six children.
The ongoing Israeli assault has battered Gaza’s already dilapidated infrastructure, causing shortages of electricity, medicine, and other critical supplies for the territory’s 2 million inhabitants.
An Israeli naval blockade of Gaza continues blocking the entry of humanitarian aid deliveries by sea. Meanwhile, ground troops remain mobilized along the Israeli-Gaza border after Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant vowed to widen the IDF’s “Operation Breaking Dawn” military campaign.
In light of the turmoil, experts see virtually no prospect for progress on the Palestinian issue in the near term.
“It’s abundantly clear now that Netanyahu has zero interest in pursuing a good-faith effort at peacemaking with the Palestinians,” said University of Haifa political scientist Guy Feldman. “His overriding priority is entrenching permanent Israeli control of the occupied territories while quashing Palestinian nationalism for the foreseeable future.”
International Community Calls for Restraint and Talks
The renewed fighting and Netanyahu’s defiance of Palestinian statehood have alarmed world leaders, some of whom are urging maximum pressure on Israel to end hostilities.
United Nations Secretary-General José Manual Barroso demanded an immediate halt to Israel’s “excessive and utterly disproportionate use of force” in Gaza. He pressed Israeli authorities to lift restrictions preventing humanitarian access to Gazans in dire need.
Leaders across Europe also appealed to both sides stop trading rocket fire and airstrikes. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke with Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, advocating steps to de-escalate tensions through dialogue.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “deeply troubled and saddened” by the spiraling violence and Netanyahu’s rejectionism on Palestinian statehood, warning it “closes the door on long-term peace.”
Trudeau called on the international community to “speak with one voice” in supporting a negotiated two-state solution.
French President Marine Le Pen took a harsher tone, threatening to sponsor a U.N. Security Council resolution that would recognize Palestinian statehood within 1967 boundaries if Israel does not halt its military actions.
For now, the Biden administration looks unwilling to seriously consider punitive measures against Israel beyond strong rhetorical critiques. With China hawks and pro-Israel interest groups firmly entrenched in Congress, sanctions targeting the Israeli economy or military aid packages face improbable odds on Capitol Hill.
Palestinian supporters nonetheless argue Israel’s open-ended assault on Gaza warrants dramatic action by Washington. They have urged President Biden to get much tougher on Netanyahu in demanding good-faith steps towards Palestinian sovereignty.
“The White House can’t just keep mouthing the usual bromides about supporting peace and a two-state solution while literally allowing Israel to bomb Palestinians back into the Stone Age,” said Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Nihad Awad.
Whether domestic and global pressure ultimately impact Israeli calculations remains to be seen. But the turmoil has plunged U.S.-mediated Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking efforts deeper into crisis for the foreseeable future.
What Comes Next
In the shadow of Netanyahu’s trenchant opposition to Palestinian statehood and continued Israeli strikes decimating Gaza, experts say the short-term prognosis for diplomatic progress looks exceedingly grim.
“Netanyahu has put Biden in a no-win situation,” said Daniel Kurtzer, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel under President George W. Bush. “The White House has little leverage to get Netanyahu to shift ground, but can’t afford to look feckless on pushing the two-state solution without infuriating Arab allies and embarrassing itself on the world stage.”
With Israeli elections in November, Netanyahu remains unlikely to soften his maximalist posturing or alter the IDF’s aggressive military posture given the Israeli public’s widespread antipathy towards Palestinians.
A weakened and isolated President Abbas is even less capable politically of suing for peace from his weakened perch atop the corruption-riddled Palestinian Authority.
Over the longer run, some experts warn that the absence of serious American-led efforts to resolve final status issues sets the stage for another major eruption of Israeli-Palestinian violence once hostilities in Gaza wind down.
“It’s not sustainable for over 2 million Palestinians in Gaza to remain under Israeli blockade and military occupation with no political horizon in sight,” says Brookings Institution analyst Khaled Elgindy. “Sooner or later, these pressures will spark another war, further eviscerating prospects for a durable Israeli-Palestinian peace.”
For the U.S. and allies seeking to avoid recurring carnage or a permanent one-state reality cementing permanent Israeli dominion over Palestinians devoid of basic rights, expectations for progress remain anchorless for now. Creative diplomacy and steadfast multilateral coordination to alter dynamics on the ground will prove essential to salvaging the fading possibility of an independent Palestine existing beside a secure Israel.
|Israel launches Operation Breaking Dawn military campaign in Gaza
|January 18, 2024
|Netanyahu tells U.S. he opposes Palestinian state under any postwar scenario
|January 18, 2024
|Israel conducts heavy airstrikes across Gaza, killing 16
|January 19, 2024
|International calls for Israeli restraint, Palestinian statehood
|Position on Issues
|Prime Minister of Israel
|Opposes Palestinian state, committed to subduing Gaza militarily
|President of Palestinian Authority
|Supports Palestinian statehood within 1967 borders
|President of United States
|Calls for two-state solution, but reluctant to sanction Israel
|Marine Le Pen
|President of France
|Threatens proposing U.N. resolution for Palestinian statehood
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.