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How Israeli Knesset’s rejection of Palestinian state shows far-right’s hold on Netanyahu

While the Knesset overwhelmingly approved of the prime minister’s proposal to reject any “unilateral recognition" of a Palestinian state, the opposition accused Netanyahu of inventing “a threat that doesn’t exist.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) attends a Knesset meeting, Jerusalem, July 10, 2023.

In a political victory for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Knesset on Wednesday voted in favor of his resolution to reject any international initiative unilaterally recognizing a Palestinian state.

The vote was 99 in favor; 11 opposed, from the Arab parties; and 10 abstentions, by Labor Party members, who were absent for the vote. Opposition leader Yair Lapid, whose Yesh Atid voted in favor, nonetheless said that Netanyahu’s scare tactic in calling for a vote was unfounded because US President Joe Biden's administration is not advancing such an initiative.

The non-binding resolution in part states, “Israel rejects categorically international dictates regarding the permanent settlement with the Palestinians. Such an arrangement will only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions.”

The proposal additionally emphasized that “Israel will continue to oppose unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state,” arguing that recognition in the wake of Hamas' Oct. 7 attack would be a “huge reward to terrorism,” that would prevent a future peace agreement.

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