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Benjamin Netanyahu's 'divisive and dangerous' rejection of two-state solution branded 'disappointing' by UK

Benjamin Netanyahu's 'divisive and dangerous' rejection of two-state solution branded 'disappointing' by UK

The UK Government on Friday slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his "disappointing" rejection of any Palestinian state.

The United States also expressed its displeasure after the hardline leader repudiated the international community's longstanding demands for a two-state solution, even after his war against Hamas in Gaza is over.In London, a Foreign Office spokesman told the Standard: "Prime Minister Netanyahu's comments on a future Palestinian state are disappointing.

"The UK's position is very clear. A two-state solution, with a viable and sovereign Palestinian state living alongside a safe and secure Israel, is the best route to lasting peace."

White House national security spokesman John Kirby issued a terse response, stressing: "We obviously see it differently."

President Joe Biden will "not stop working" toward a two-state solution, he added, after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week said Israel would never have "genuine security" without a path towards Palestinian independence.

Alicia Kearns, chairwoman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Standard: "The rhetoric of Netanyahu’s government is divisive and dangerous.

"Netanyahu’s outright refusal to recognise the rights of the people of Palestine risks weakening the support of allies, inflaming neighbours, and ultimately yet again takes us further from peace."

She added: “Just as those who try to deny Israeli statehood should face condemnation, so too should those who deny Palestinian statehood.”

Labour also restated its support for a two-state solution. But SNP foreign affairs spokesman Brendan O'Hara urged Sir Keir Starmer and the Prime Minister to go further and formally recognise a Palestinian state even before a negotiated settlement with Israel.

"Benjamin Netanyahu's refusal to recognise the state of Palestine is a dangerous setback that will only fuel the conflict in Gaza," he said.

"That is why it is crucial both Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer show leadership on the international stage by confirming that the UK does recognise the state of Palestine.

"They have dithered and delayed on this issue for too long."

Mr Netanyahu’s poll ratings have slumped in Israel since Hamas started the war on October 7 with a series of murderous cross-border raids, and critics say his far-right government is seeking to buy time by prolonging the devastating Gaza conflict while ignoring the plight of dozens of Israeli hostages.

But he was defiant in a nationally televised news conference on Thursday, also dismissing calls from Mr Blinken to dial down the conflict, which has claimed nearly 25,000 Palestinian lives.

"We will not settle for anything short of an absolute victory," Mr Netanyahu said.

He added that in any post-war scenario, Israel "must have security control over the entire territory west of the Jordan River", insisting that an independent Palestine “would endanger the state of Israel".

The war has rippled across the Middle East. President Biden conceded that US strikes on Houthi rebels in Yemen had failed to stop them attacking ships in the Red Sea, but vowed that the strikes would continue.

“When you say working, are they stopping the Houthis? No. Are they going to continue? Yes,” Mr Biden told reporters.