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Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid calls for two-state solution, Palestinians say United Nations speech ‘means nothing’

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Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid has called for a two-state solution to decades of Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Mr Lapid’s call for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel came during an address to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday and echoed US President Joe Biden’s recent support for the long-dormant proposal.

“An agreement with the Palestinians, based on two states for two peoples, is the right thing for Israel’s security, for Israel’s economy and for the future of our children,” Mr Lapid said.

He said any agreement would be conditional on a peaceful Palestinian state that would not threaten Israel.

Efforts to reach a two-state Israeli-Palestinian deal have long been stalled.

Palestinians and rights groups say Israel has entrenched its control of the occupied Palestinian territories through its military rule over millions of Palestinians and continued building of settlements in occupied territory.

Wasel Abu Youssef, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said Mr Lapid’s words “mean nothing”.

He said “whoever wants a two-state solution must implement it on the ground” and respect previously reached agreements, stop settlement expansion and recognise East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Mr Lapid’s speech came less than six weeks out from a November 1 election which could return former right-wing prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to power.

Mr Netanyahu has been a longstanding opponent of the two-state solution.

Israel captured East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza — areas that Palestinians seek for an independent state — in a 1967 Middle East war.

US-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014.

US ambassador to Israel Tom Nides called Mr Lapid’s speech “courageous” for supporting the two-state solution.

‘Credible military threat’ aimed at Iran

Mr Lapid also reasserted that Israel would do “whatever it takes” to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.

“The only way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is to put a credible military threat on the table,” he said.

“We have capabilities and we are not afraid to use them.”

Widely believed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear weapons, Israel regards Iran as an existential threat.

However, Tehran denies that its nuclear program is aimed at developing a nuclear weapon.

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Article source: ABC News (Reuters) | Fri 23 Sep 2022

2024-05-08 07:04:10.000000