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Netanyahu: Only greater Israel will exist from ‘river to the sea’

January 19, 2024 at 4:06 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on December 10, 2023 [RONEN ZVULUN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has never disguised his opposition to Palestinian sovereignty throughout his long tenure in office. But his latest public rejection of an independent Palestinian state reveals a deepening rift between allies of the apartheid state and the death nail of a resolution Western leaders have been banking on to end the colonial march of Zionism.

Speaking yesterday in a nationally broadcast news conference, Netanyahu ruled out a post-war peace process that would lead to the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state, rebuffing calls from the US to start working toward that ultimate goal.

“Israel must have security control over all the territory west of the Jordan,” the Likud leader said, referring to historic Palestine which includes occupied territory that Palestinians hope will one day become their independent state. “The prime minister needs to be capable of saying no to our friends,” he added, saying that he had said so to the US.

His stance clashes with American policy backing a two-state solution as part of a post-war order in Gaza and the West Bank. Despite staunchly defending Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, Washington has said that preparation for “the day after” includes progress on Palestinian statehood.

READ: There is ‘absolutely no’ chance of a two-state solution because Israel killed it

“There will be a post-conflict Gaza, no reoccupation of Gaza,” the White House National Security Adviser, John Kirby, told reporters onboard Air Force One after Netanyahu’s speech.

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.

“There is no way to solve [Israel’s] long-term challenges to provide lasting security and there is no way to solve the short-term challenges of rebuilding Gaza and establishing governance in Gaza and providing security for Gaza without the establishment of a Palestinian state,” he told a news briefing yesterday.

While Netanyahu’s comments reaffirmed his long-standing position, they sparked a heated row, especially on social media. Israel’s longest serving and most successful prime minister has never minced his words about his opposition to a Palestinian state. The Likud leader once said that he is “proud” to have “prevented the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

The Likud Party’s objection to a Palestinian state is clearly stated in its platform. “The right of the Jewish people to the land of Israel is eternal and indisputable… therefore, Judea and Samaria will not be handed to any foreign administration; between the Sea and the Jordan there will only be Israeli sovereignty.”

Users of X picked up on Netanyahu’s reference to the slogan “from the river to the sea” to expose the double standard and hypocrisy of the West in trying to proscribe the chant when pro-Palestine activists use it.

Poet Remi Kanazi wrote: “Palestinians: From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free. The US: That’s antisemitic. Netanyahu: From the river to the sea, it will all be Israel and there will never be a Palestinian state. The US: Here’s $14 billion dollars and some more bombs for genocide.”

Prominent author and presenter Mehdi Hasan also slammed the hypocrisy: “Irony is dead. For months now, American politicians & pundits, Jewish community leaders & students, have obsessed over ‘from the river to the sea’; censuring Rashida Talib & accusing pro-Palestinian activists of genocidal language,” he wrote, sharing a tweet about Netanyahu’s comment.

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