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Israeli gov’t unanimously rejects ‘diktat’ of international Palestinian state recognition, Knesset to follow suit

US ambassador backpedals: ‘Never said that was our policy’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem, on Feb. 18, 2024. (Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

The Israeli government on Sunday unanimously rejected unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state by other nations, following reports that the United States was weighing such a move to pressure Israel in the hostage release negotiations with Hamas.

The decision to reject the proposal was agreed upon by all cabinet members, including the more left-leaning National Unity party ministers like Gadi Eisenkot.

“Israel utterly rejects international diktats regarding a permanent settlement with the Palestinians. A settlement, if it is to be reached, will come about solely through direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions,” the declaration read.

“Israel will continue to oppose unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. Such recognition in the wake of the October 7th massacre would be a massive and unprecedented reward to terrorism and would prevent any future peace settlement.”

A Washington Post report had suggested that U.S. officials were working on a plan for a long-term ceasefire in Gaza that would eventually lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state, causing outrage among several government members.

Following the report, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. President Joe Biden in a phone conversation on Thursday that Israel rejects the notion that a Palestinian state should be imposed on Israel in the wake of the Oct. 7 massacre.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich (Religious Zionist party) called on the government to sign a declaration, amid reports that other Western countries were now also considering a unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. The Knesset is expected to ratify the declaration on Monday.

Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador Jack Lew appeared to backpedal regarding his country’s intention, replying: “We have never said that was our policy,” when asked about the reports at a conference on Sunday.

“Our policy is that there should be an over-the-horizon process” toward Palestinian statehood with Israel’s involvement, Lew said.

“The best way to achieve an enduring end to the crisis in Gaza that provides lasting peace and security, for Israelis and Palestinians alike, is our strong commitment to the creation of a Palestinian state,” an American State Department official told the Times of Israel on Sunday.

“As such, the United States continues to support the two-state solution and to oppose policies that endanger its viability or contradict our mutual interests and values.”

Underlining the government’s unity on the issue, War Cabinet minister Benny Gantz (National Unity) reiterated his opposition to the U.S. move to recognize a Palestinian state.

“After October 7, the pathway to regional stability and peace is not through one-sided actions like recognition of a Palestinian state,” but rather through victory over Hamas, the former IDF Chief of Staff said.

“War now, peace later. We have tried everything but eliminating Hamas,” he said, explaining that achieving a long-term, lasting peace with Gaza will take a long time.

“I would dare to say it would take a year, a decade, and a generation.”

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

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