Jerusalem, Feb 11 (IANS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the parliament on Wednesday that the situation is not yet right for a two-state solution aimed at ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a statement from his office read.
In a speech during a special Knesset (parliament) session, Netanyahu said he supports the two-state solution, as he stated in his seminal 2009 Bar-Ilan speech in which he acknowledged it officially for the first time, but the Palestinians do not accept Israel’s basic principles, Xinhua reported.
“I have clarified what is needed to end the conflict between us and the Palestinians, acknowledgment and demilitarization,” Netanyahu said on Tuesday evening, according to a statement from his office.
He said the Palestinians must recognise Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and the Palestinian state must be demilitarised, stressing that these are not “preconditions” but rather principles that must be fulfilled in the outcome of the peace talks.
He criticized the opposition’s Zionist Union camp and its leader Isaac Herzog who had recently introduced his own plan to “separate” from the Palestinians.
“There is no security separation, such a thing doesn’t exist. Israel must be the force in charge of the security in the territory,” Netanyahu said, meaning continuing to militarily control the territories Israel occupied in the 1967 war and where the Palestinians wish to establish their own state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip territories.
The Israeli prime minister said that another reason the two-state solution appears less feasible at present time is the shifts of radical Islam throughout the region.
“I’m not interested in a bi-national state,” Netanyahu said, adding that he fears the West Bank territories would turn into a “base of Palestinian and Islamist terror” which he said “seeks to destroy the state of Israel.”
As for the ongoing wave of violence, Netanyahu said it is not the Israeli occupation responsible for the wave of violence, as the Palestinians charge.
His statements come shortly after a heated exchange with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who accused Israel’s expansion of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank two weeks ago and said the Palestinian frustration under the occupation is understandable as it is the human nature to fight occupation.
Netanyahu, in response, said Ban’s statements give a “tailwind” to terror.
The last round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority took place between July 2013 and April 2014, and ended without results.