Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday stated clearly that he supports the creation of a Palestinian Arab state as the outcome of a bilateral agreement to end the present conflict.
“I don’t support a one-state solution – I don’t believe that’s a solution at all,” said the Israeli leader. “I support the vision of two states for two peoples – a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state.”
The prime minister made the remarks just prior to meeting with visiting European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (pictured), with whom Netanyahu said he was “look[ing] forward to discussing with how we can advance that vision forth in a practical, secure, and responsible way.”
Following the recent Israeli national elections, European and American leaders loudly voiced concerns over Netanyahu’s campaign rhetoric, which suggested the Israeli leader saw little justification for permitting the creation of a Palestinian state.
On Thursday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also met with Mogherini and noted that “the whole world heard” Netanyahu commit himself to the two-state solution, and suggested that as such there should be no more question about Israel’s commitment to peace.
The official coalition guidelines for Netanyahu’s new government in fact call for the advancement of peace efforts with the Palestinians and all Israel’s neighbors, while safeguarding the Jewish state’s security and historical rights.
The danger is that Western powers will now, once again, try to railroad the process while ignoring ongoing Palestinian intransigence and violations, thus leading either to yet another breakdown in talks, or, more worryingly, a final status agreement that imperils Israel’s future.
Indeed, French media reported this week that Paris would soon present a new proposal for the peace process with an 18-month deadline, after which France threatened to unilaterally recognize a “State of Palestine” if no agreement had been reached.