Netanyahu tells Biden opposed to Palestinian sovereignty in Gaza

Netanyahu tells Biden opposed to Palestinian sovereignty in Gaza
Netanyahu tells Biden opposed to Palestinian sovereignty in Gaza

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - US President Joe Biden pushed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on January 19, 2024 on the need for future Palestinian statehood, as the two leaders spoke for the first time in a month amid tensions over plans for the aftermath of the Gaza war. — AFP pic

JERUSALEM, Jan 20 — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today he told US President Joe Biden that he rejected Palestinian sovereignty in the Gaza Strip, in a call the day before.

The two leaders spoke by phone on Friday for the first time in nearly a month, with Biden saying following the call that he believed it was still possible Netanyahu could agree to some form of Palestinian state.

“In his conversation with President Biden, Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated his policy that after Hamas is destroyed Israel must retain security control over Gaza to ensure that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel, a requirement that contradicts the demand for Palestinian sovereignty,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement issued today.

On Thursday, Netanyahu had rejected Palestinian sovereignty over the occupied West Bank, saying it was incompatible with Israel’s need to have “security control over all the territory west of the (River) Jordan”.

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Biden had said after the call on Friday that it was possible Netanyahu could come round to some form of two-state solution, seen for decades by diplomats as the best way to bring peace to the Middle East.

“There are a number of types of two-state solutions. There’s a number of countries that are members of the UN that... don’t have their own militaries,” Biden told reporters after an event at the White House.

A senior Hamas official today dismissed Biden’s comments about the possibility of Israel agreeing to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

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“The illusion that Biden is preaching about a state of Palestine and its characteristics does not fool our people,” Izzat al-Rishq, a member of the Islamist group’s political bureau, said in a statement.

“Biden is a full partner in the genocidal war and our people do not expect any good from him.”

Netanyahu has pledged to destroy Hamas and demilitarise Gaza following the Palestinian Islamist group’s October 7 attack on Israel, and is increasingly resistant to US pressure for a plan that includes any form of Palestinian statehood.

Hamas’ attack resulted in the death of about 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.

Israel has been conducting a relentless air and ground offensive that has killed at least 24,927 Palestinians, mostly women and children, according to Gaza health ministry figures. — AFP

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