Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Thursday (22/9) called for a two-state solution to be the solution to the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict and reiterated that Israel would do “whatever it takes” to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.
The mention of a two-state solution, the first by an Israeli leader at the UN General Assembly, underscores US President Joe Biden’s support in Israel last August for the long-discussed proposal.
“A deal with Palestine, based on two states for two peoples, is the right thing for Israel’s security, Israel’s economy and for the future of our children,” Lapid said.
He added that any agreement would be conditioned on a peaceful Palestinian state that would not threaten Israel.
Lapid made the remarks less than six weeks before the November 1 general election that could be won by far-right former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has long opposed a two-state solution.
Israel annexed the territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza – territories the Palestinians hope will become their future independent state – in a 1967 Middle East war. US-brokered negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians failed in 2014.
In his speech, Lapid again criticized Iran and voiced Israel’s determination to prevent its old enemy from obtaining nuclear weapons.
“The only way to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon is to present a credible military threat,” he said. “We have the ability and we are not afraid to use it.”
Believed by many to possess the only nuclear weapon in the Middle East, Israel views Iran as an existential threat. Tehran itself denies that it is trying to develop nuclear weapons. [rd/jm]