Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Knesset plenum against unilateral recognition of a Palestinian State, February 19, 2024.

99 MKs on Wednesday voted against unilateral recognition of a Palestinian State. The majority of Zionist House members supported the bill, with the Labor Party abstaining from the vote. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrated the near-unanimous vote, saying, “I congratulate the members of the Knesset, including from the opposition, who voted with an overwhelming majority in favor of my proposal that Israel oppose being unilaterally ordered to establish a Palestinian state.”

On Monday, PM Netanyahu told the House, “For the past five months we have been conducting an unprecedented diplomatic campaign that has enabled the IDF soldiers and the state to wage the war without disruption and without interruption. This cannot be taken for granted. Today, there are pressures that we are fending off. These pressures are designed to achieve one thing—to stop the war before we attain all its goals. Recently we have heard pressures of a new kind—talk about a unilateral international diktat for Israel, intended to force upon it the establishment of a Palestinian state.

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“I have to tell you that if this was not a clear danger before October 7, then afterward a huge part of the public in Israel understands that this must not happen. Yesterday in the cabinet meeting, there was wall-to-wall, unanimous consensus that the establishment of a Palestinian State will not be dictated to us—certainly not after the October 7 massacre, or in general. The draft resolution was intended to make it clear to the world, to our friends and our enemies, that we will not yield to diktats that will endanger our existence,” Netanyahu told the plenum.

He then read the draft resolution:

“Israel utterly rejects international diktats regarding a permanent settlement with the Palestinians. A settlement, if it is to be reached, will come about solely through direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions. Israel will continue to oppose unilateral recognition of a Palestinian State. Such recognition in the wake of the October 7 massacre would be a massive and unprecedented reward to terrorism and would prevent any future peace settlement.”

Opposition leader MK Yair Lapid told Netanyahu from the podium: “My connections with the American administration are much better than yours, so I went and checked with them – there is no such thing, you invented a threat that does not exist. What are we talking about? There is not a single official in the world who offers unilateral recognition of the Palestinians.”

His party, Yesh Atid, voted for the resolution anyway. Go figure.

Last Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that the Biden administration, alongside a select coalition of Arab allies, including Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the Palestinian Authority, is hastening to finalize an exhaustive and intricate strategy aimed at achieving enduring peace between Israel and the “Palestinians.” (It’s On: US and Arab States Pushing Timeline for Palestinian State)

WP reporters Karen DeYoung, Susannah George, and Loveday Morris noted: “The elephant in the planning room is Israel, and whether its government will acquiesce to much of what is being discussed: the withdrawal of many, if not all, settler communities on the West Bank; a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem; the reconstruction of Gaza; and security and governance arrangements for a combined West Bank and Gaza.”

They added: The hope is that Israel would also be offered specific security guarantees and normalization with Saudi Arabia and other Arab states that would be hard to refuse.”

Which makes you wonder if Yair Lapid reads The Washington Post. I’m sure his campaign people do. Hence the yes vote.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.