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Israel’s Prime Minister endorses Palestinian state in UN speech

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Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid told the United Nations on Thursday that he supports creation of a Palestinian state alongside his country, but aides said he has no plans to launch peace talks soon.

“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.

Mr. Lapid is the first Israeli prime minister to explicitly endorse the two-state solution at the U.N. General Assembly in several years. Mr. Lapid — serving as a caretaker in the role until elections are held in November — has long said he supports a Palestinian state and reiterated that position in July during a visit to Israel by President Biden.

Mr. Lapid faces an uphill battle to retain his role in the coming elections, and some Israeli analysts said his speech was a political gambit meant to draw support from voters who support creation of a Palestinian state.

Mr. Lapid’s comments drew a backlash from both Israeli political opponents, who accused him of endorsing a plan that would put the country’s security at risk, and Palestinian leaders, who said his words were meaningless if he didn’t actually engage in peace talks.

Israeli Justice Minister Gideon Saar said on Twitter that the Israeli public wouldn’t accept the creation of a “terrorist state” alongside Israel.

Palestinian leaders dismissed Mr. Lapid’s speech as hollow grandstanding. “It doesn’t matter what he says today,” said Akram Rajoub, governor of the northern West Bank district of Jenin, which has been the focus of a deadly, monthslong Israeli military operation targeting Palestinian militants.

More than 80 Palestinians have been killed this year in the West Bank, according to the U.N., the highest death toll there in seven years.

“What matters is what he does on the ground,” Mr. Rajoub said on Israel’s Army Radio. “Let the U.N. and the world, even the Israelis, look at what is happening on the ground.”

Israel and Palestinian representatives signed the Oslo Accords in 1993 setting out a peace process that Palestinians hoped would give them an independent state, but in practice there has been little momentum since the last serious talks ended in 2014.

Polls show support for the two-state solution declining among both Israelis and Palestinians in recent years.

Article link: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/the-wall-street-journal/israels-prime-minister-endorses-palestinian-state-in-un-speech/news-story/14be396a138219e51f14bd25969a699c
Article source: The Australian (Wall Street Journal) | Dion Nissenbaum |September 23, 2022

2023-10-24 01:28:30.000000