Netanyahu officially rejects the creation of a Palestinian state

This statement goes against what the Western allies of Israel consider the best solution.

The Israeli prime minister has informed the US administration that he opposes any efforts to create a Palestinian state after Israel concludes its military operation in Gaza, and that Israel would maintain security control over all the land west of the Jordan River.

Benjamin Netanyahu has consistently tried to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state throughout his political career, even though he has occasionally expressed weak support for the idea.

However, his public statement on Thursday was his most direct challenge to US foreign policy, at a time when the US administration has spent a lot of domestic political capital to back Israel militarily and diplomatically.

The US administration responded by saying that it would keep working towards a two-state solution and that there would be no Israeli takeover of Gaza after the war ended.

“There will be a post-war Gaza, no takeover of Gaza,” the US national security adviser, John Kirby, said to reporters on board Air Force One after Netanyahu’s speech.

In another development, soon after Netanyahu’s address, Mexico and Chile said they had referred the Israeli actions in the occupied Palestinian territories to the international criminal court’s prosecutor for the investigation of possible “war crimes”.

The Mexican foreign ministry said it had made the move because of the growing concern about the latest increase of violence and civilian deaths.

In a news conference broadcasted nationally, Netanyahu pledged to continue with the offensive until Israel achieved a “decisive victory over Hamas”. He said he had communicated his opposition to a Palestinian state to the US.

“In any future arrangement … Israel needs security control over all the territory west of the Jordan [river],” Netanyahu said in the news conference broadcasted nationally. “This clashes with the idea of sovereignty. What can you do?”

Netanyahu, whose political support has plummeted since Hamas’s 7 October unexpected attack on southern Israel that killed about 1,200 Israelis and other nationals, seemed to explicitly link his own political fate to that of Israel.

“The day after Netanyahu,” he said. “It’s the day after most of Israel’s citizens. For 30 years, I have been consistent, saying one simple thing: this conflict is not about the absence of a state, but about the presence of a state.

“Every territory we withdraw from, we get terror, terrible terror against us. It happened in southern Lebanon, it happened in Gaza Strip, and it happened in [the West Bank] when we did it, in parts.”

He added: “The prime minister needs to be able to say no to our friends.”

In a statement released later to coincide with a meeting of his war cabinet, Netanyahu warned that the war would last for months and promised “total victory over Hamas”.

“Victory will still take many long months, but we are determined to achieve it…

“Israel under my leadership will not settle for less than total victory over Hamas, and we will win. I say this again, so that no one will be in doubt: We are aiming for total victory, not just ‘to hit Hamas’ or ‘to hurt Hamas’, not ‘another round with Hamas’ but total victory over Hamas.”

The US had been asking Israel to reduce its offensive in Gaza and had been pushing for a stop to the phase of major fighting. It said that the creation of a Palestinian state should be part of the “day after”.

There has been increasing visible annoyance among senior US officials with the Israeli prime minister.

Netanyahu’s intervention also comes amid rising tensions in his own ruling coalition, especially around his refusal to discuss specific proposals for the “day after” in Gaza.

Netanyahu’s clear rejection of a Palestinian state is also likely to make it harder for Israel to get support from other countries, especially in Europe, who have long supported the two-state solution proposed in the Oslo agreements.

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