Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, reportedly informed the United States that he does not support the formation of a Palestinian state following the conclusion of the Gaza Strip conflict.
A defiant Mr. Netanyahu pledged at a news conference to continue the offensive in Gaza “until complete victory”—namely, Hamas’s destruction and the return of the remaining Israeli hostages—and added that it could take “many more months.”
85% of the Strip’s population has been displaced and nearly 25,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, according to the health ministry operated by Hamas. As a result, Israel is under intense pressure to rein in its offensive and engage in constructive negotiations regarding a lasting end to the conflict.
Many of Israel’s adversaries and allies, including the United States, have advocated for the resurgence of the inert “two-state solution,” which envisions the establishment of a future Palestinian state adjacent to an existing Israeli state.
There is widespread optimism that the ongoing crisis may compel the belligerent nations to resume diplomatic efforts, as it represents the sole feasible alternative to ceaseless cycles of violence. However, Mr. Netanyahu’s remarks suggest that he had the exact opposite in mind.
As a response to Mr. Netanyahu’s most recent remarks, John Kirby, a spokesman for the US National Security Council, acknowledged to reporters that the United States and Israel “obviously” hold divergent views.
Netanyahu’s Security Stance and Diplomatic Rift
Mr. Netanyahu stated earlier on Thursday that Israel must maintain security control over all land west of the Jordan River, including the territory of any future Palestinian state.
“This is an essential prerequisite, yet it contradicts the concept of Palestinian sovereignty.” What ought one to do? He stated, “I inform our American allies of this fact, and I also thwart any effort to impose a reality on us that would be detrimental to Israel’s security.”
His new comments are hardly surprising as he has spent most of his political career opposing Palestinian statehood and claimed last month that he had stopped it.
However, the open rejection of Washington’s diplomatic efforts and Israel’s resolve to maintain the status quo militarily indicate that the rift with its aWestern allies is widening.
Since Hamas militants killed 1,300 Israelis and kidnapped 240 on October 7, the US has supported Israel’s right to defend itself.
However, as the number of casualties in Gaza increased and horrific images proliferated, Western governments urged Israel to exercise restraint.
Consistently, the White House has endeavoured to sway Israel’s military strategy by advocating for the use of precision-guided weapons as opposed to the general airstrikes, discouraging a ground offensive, and supporting a two-state solution that includes the Palestinian Authority in post-conflict Gaza.
US-Israel Relations and Public Sentiment
Mr. Kirby stated that the United States has been “extraordinarily explicit” regarding its post-conflict vision for Gaza.
He stated, “We want governance in Gaza that reflects the aspirations of the Palestinian people, in which they have a say and a vote, and in which there is no reoccupation of Gaza.”
Frequently, Washington has disregarded or flatly rejected the counsel; this has transpired in public, most notably during the visits of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
As a result, discontent has intensified in certain American circles regarding the Biden administration’s seemingly unrestricted backing of Israel, prompting vehement demands to impose restrictions on US assistance to its ally in the Middle East.
The remarks of Israel’s prime minister will appeal to his shrinking support base as well as the far-right ministers who provide support to his government.
However, those domestic and international who are growing increasingly appalled by the human toll of this conflict will be dismayed. Recent surveys indicate that the majority of Israelis want him to bring the remaining hostages back home before pursuing the potentially impossible objective of eradicating Hamas.