Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told the United States that he opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state as part of any post-war scenario, underscoring divisions between the allies three months into Israel’s relentless military assault on Gaza.
In a nationally broadcast news conference on Thursday, Netanyahu pledged to press ahead with the offensive until Israel realizes a “decisive victory over Hamas” and said he had relayed his positions on Palestinian statehood to US officials.
Netanyahu said that in any future arrangement, Israel needs security control over all territory west of the Jordan River.
While the US has vetoed United Nations resolutions calling for a ceasefire, it has called on Israel to scale back the intensity of its war on Gaza and said that the establishment of a Palestinian state should be part of the “day after.”
Following Netanyahu’s comments, US National Security Adviser John Kirby said that there would be no reoccupation of Gaza after the war and emphasized that the US remains committed to a two-state solution.
US Department of State spokesperson Matthew Miller also said Israel now has an opportunity to engage with the idea of a Palestinian state, as countries in the region are ready to provide security assurances.
He added that, despite differences of opinion between the US and Israel, its support for Israel remains ironclad.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrapped up his latest visit to the Middle East last week by saying that offering Palestinians a path to statehood could stabilize the Middle East and isolate Iran.
Earlier this week, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, said on a World Economic Forum panel in Davos, Switzerland, that the kingdom believed that “regional peace includes peace for Israel.”
He said Saudi Arabia “certainly” would recognize Israel as part of a larger political agreement, “but that can only happen through peace for the Palestinians, through a Palestinian state.”
After more than 100 days of Israel’s war on Gaza, relentless attacks have continued and at least 24,620 Palestinians have been killed. A communications blackout in Gaza has entered its seventh day, while raids have continued in the occupied West Bank.
The war has also rippled across the Middle East, with low-intensity fighting between the Israeli army and Lebanon’s Hezbollah threatening to erupt into an all-out war and Houthi rebels in Yemen continuing to target international shipping while the US launches attacks against them.