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After Biden says Netanyahu 'doesn't rule out two-state solution,' Israeli ministers respond firmly

Coalition ministers say White House needs to ‘wake up’

Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir leads a faction meeting of the Jewish Power party at the Knesset in Jerusalem, Dec. 18, 2023. (Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Following U.S. President Joe Biden's statement on Friday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might support a demilitarized Palestinian state, the Israeli government refuted it. 

After Biden’s comments at press conference on Friday evening, the Prime Minister’s Office released a statement the following day, stating: “In his conversation with President Biden, Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated his policy that after Hamas is destroyed Israel must retain security control over Gaza to ensure that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel, a requirement that contradicts the demand for Palestinian sovereignty.” 

Several coalition ministers were quick to make statements of their own, indicating their unwillingness to budge on the issue of Palestinian statehood. 

Former Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, from Netanyahu’s Likud party, wrote on social media: “A Palestinian state is a reward for terror and a threat to the State of Israel. It will encourage the murder of Jews and give a supporting spirit to Iran’s Axis of Evil. We will not give our hands to it!” 

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, head of the Jewish Power party, posted: “I indeed deny a Palestinian state. Forever!” Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who leads the Religious Zionism party, wrote: “There is in Israel a broad agreement against a Palestinian state and the division of the land. The friends of Israel need to understand that the push to establish a Palestinian state is a push for the next massacre, God forbid, and a threat to the existence of the state of Israel." 

“As happened in Israel, also in the White House, they need to wake up from the conceptions which lead to the Israeli national calamity,” Smotrich added.

Aliyah and Absorption Minister Ofir Sofer said in an interview with Army Radio: "A Palestinian state will not be established."

Israeli leaders reportedly do not trust the Palestinian Authority to be an honest partner in any peace agreement, as leaders from the PA not only publicly praised the Oct. 7 invasion and surprise attack by Hamas terrorists but have also called for attacks against Israel in the past. 

Even Biden's administration appeared to admit last year that the PA, in its current form, could not take over the governing of Gaza following the war. However, since then, Biden and his administration have consistently stated that a reformed PA should.

U.S .National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby acknowledged the gap in understanding between Biden and Netanyahu on the issue. 

While speaking to reporters, Kirby said Biden “still believes in the promise and the possibility of a two-state solution. He recognizes that’s going to take a lot of hard work.” 

“The president is under no illusions of how elusive a two-state solution is,” Kirby added, indicating that Netanyahu and his coalition partners distrust the PA and reject Biden's two-state proposal.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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