United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday criticized Israel’s rejection of a two-state solution, arguing it will “indefinitely prolong” a resolution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
“The right of the Palestinian people to build their own, fully independent states must be recognized by all and then a refusal to accept a two-state solution by any party must be firmly rejected,” Guterres said during Tuesday’s ministerial meeting of the U.N. Security Council.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has largely rejected calls from global leaders, including President Biden, to be open to a two-state solution to bring an end to the long-standing conflict between Israel and Palestinians.
His latest remarks come amid international outrage over Israel’s war in Gaza, which has left a reported 25,000 dead. That figure includes thousands of Hamas fighters, but the majority are civilians.
Israel’s air and land campaign has leveled a significant portion of Gaza, forcing an estimated 85 percent of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million people from their neighborhoods and homes, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Guterres on Tuesday said Gaza’s entire population is “enduring destruction at a scale and speed without parallel in recent history.”
He called the Israeli government’s steadfast rejection of a two-state solution “unacceptable.”
“This refusal and the denial of the right to statehood to the Palestinian people, to the indefinitely prolonged conflict that has become a major threat to global peace and security,” Guterres said.
Netanyahu has indicated he disagrees with calls from the White House and other nations to pull back Israel’s military operation in Gaza, arguing “a total victory” for Israel means the “elimination of Hamas” and the return of all hostages.
Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks killed around 1,200 people in Israel, while about 250 others were taken hostage. Israel has said about 130 hostages remain in Hamas captivity in Gaza.