Netanyahu Defies Biden as Unanimous Vote Rejects Imposed Palestinian State

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defied U.S. President Joe Biden on Sunday by bringing a version of Biden’s peace plan to his government, which included a Palestinian state imposed from outside, to a vote. The proposal was unanimously rejected.

Netanyahu took this step after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken continued to push for Israel to accept a Palestinian state as the outcome of the conflict against Hamas terrorists, who initiated the conflict with a brutal attack on Israel on October 7.

The Prime Minister’s Office issued the subsequent statement:

The Israeli Government has unanimously approved a declaratory decision regarding Israel’s opposition to international diktats.

The text of the final statement:

1. 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.

2. Israel will continue to oppose unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. Such recognition in the wake of the October 7th massacre would be a massive and unprecedented reward to terrorism and would prevent any future peace settlement.

Netanyahu’s statement on Saturday evening came amidst the backdrop of a strong Israeli opposition to a Palestinian state, especially following their support for one about a decade ago. This opposition stems from years of enduring rocket and terror attacks from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, which effectively functioned as a Palestinian state in all but name.

I made it clear to the Cabinet and I reiterate it to the world this evening: An arrangement will be achieved only by direct negotiations between the parties, without pre-conditions. Under my leadership, Israel will continue to strongly oppose unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. And when do they want to give such unilateral recognition? After the terrible massacre of October 7. There can be no greater and unprecedented prize to terrorism, which will also prevent any future peace agreement.

The Biden administration is promoting a strategy that involves using hostage negotiations with Hamas to halt the conflict and facilitate a broader Israeli-Arab peace agreement, with a Palestinian state as its focal point.

This approach is reminiscent of traditional views in Washington before President Donald Trump, which suggested that peace between Israel and Arab states hinged on resolving the Palestinian issue first. Trump, however, demonstrated the opposite with the Abraham Accords—a deal between Israel and several Arab states that did not include a Palestinian state and did not prioritize the Palestinian issue. Since assuming office in 2021, the Biden administration has not added any countries to the Abraham Accords.