Knesset backs Netanyahu’s rejection of a Palestinian state


israels prime minister

Israeli lawmakers have voted in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stance against any “unilateral” recognition of a Palestinian state, amid increasing international calls for resuming negotiations on Palestinian statehood. The symbolic declaration, made during Israel’s conflict with Gaza, garnered backing from both government and opposition members, with 99 out of 120 lawmakers endorsing it, according to a Knesset spokesperson. Israel maintains that any permanent agreement with the Palestinians must be achieved through direct bilateral talks rather than through external mandates.

Despite Netanyahu’s public opposition to a Palestinian state and his portrayal of himself as a barrier against its establishment, formal discussions on Palestinian statehood have been dormant since 2014. This hiatus stems from Israel’s refusal to accept a state covering all territories illegally occupied by Israel. Netanyahu characterised the parliamentary vote as a unified rejection of external pressure to impose a Palestinian state, asserting that such a state would not foster peace but instead jeopardise Israel’s security.

The vote drew condemnation from the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, which accused Israel of obstructing Palestinian rights through its occupation of territories earmarked for a future Palestinian state. Critics highlight the challenges to realising a two-state solution, notably the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, deemed illegal under international law. While the international community, including the United States, has advocated for a two-state solution, Israel’s actions, particularly settlement expansion, have complicated prospects for Palestinian statehood, leading some to consider alternative scenarios, including a single state with equal rights for all inhabitants.