A day after his first phone call in weeks with President Joe Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doubled down on his opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state, ignoring U.S. pressure to agree to a two-state solution amid the ongoing war in the Middle East.
“I will not compromise on full Israeli security control of the entire area west of the Jordan River—and that is irreconcilable with a Palestinian state,” the Israeli leader wrote in Hebrew on X. That area includes the Palestinian territory of the West Bank, in which Israel has for years built settlements and a wall separating Palestinian villages from one another, in violation of international law.
President Biden previously suggested a disarmed Palestinian state as “one of a number of types of two state solutions.” The two-state solution has the support of most of the international community, including the U.S. and its allies, and Netanyahu’s recent comments came under fire from a number of sources.
Grant Shapps, the British defense secretary, called Netanyahu’s remarks “disappointing” in a televised interview with Sky News. “There isn’t another option,” he said. “The whole world has agreed that the two-state solution is the best way forward.”
Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the U.N., wrote that it was “unacceptable” to refuse a two-state solution and deny statehood to the Palestinian people hours after Netanyahu’s comments.
While the Biden administration continues to support Israel in its offensive in the Gaza Strip, it has clashed with Netanyahu’s government over plans for the territory’s future after the war ends. Despite the support of the U.S. and much of the international community, the two-state solution is unpopular within Netanyahu’s tenuously-held government coalition, and it is losing support among both Israelis and Palestinians.