February 18, 2024
UN Slams Israel, Warns Rejecting Two-State Solution Could Prolong Gaza Conflict
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UN Slams Israel, Warns Rejecting Two-State Solution Could Prolong Gaza Conflict

UN Slams Israel, Warns Rejecting Two-State Solution Could Prolong Gaza Conflict/Reuters

UN Slams Israel, Warns Rejecting Two-State Solution Could Prolong Gaza Conflict

By

AFP

Israel’s rejection of the idea of a two-state solution with the Palestinians is unacceptable and could prolong the war in Gaza, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday.

“Last week’s clear and repeated rejection of the two-state solution at the highest levels of the Israeli government is unacceptable,” Guterres said in a speech to the Security Council.

“This refusal, and the denial of the right to statehood to the Palestinian people, would indefinitely prolong a conflict that has become a major threat to global peace and security,” Guterres told the meeting.

Such an outcome “would exacerbate polarization and embolden extremists everywhere,” he added. Guterres called for the universal recognition of “right of the Palestinian people to build their own fully independent state.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has drawn global condemnation in recent days — and defied the United States, which provides Israel with billions of dollars in military aid — by rejecting calls for a Palestinian state.

That rejection has come as Israel pounds Hamas in Gaza, where the death toll reached nearly 25,500 Tuesday, with around 70 percent of the dead women and children, according to the territory’s health ministry,.

The offensive began in response to the unprecedented attack by Hamas fighters on October 7 that resulted in the deaths of about 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures. The militant group also seized about 250 hostages during

the attack, with around 132 still remaining in Gaza.

Netanyahu’s office last week said Israel “must retain security control over Gaza,” even after “Hamas is destroyed,” days after the prime minister had also rejected Palestinian sovereignty over the occupied West Bank. He proclaimed Israel’s need to have “security control over all the territory west of the (River) Jordan.”

But Guterres pushed back against that assertion, demanding Tuesday that “Israel’s occupation must end.” “The entire population of Gaza is enduring destruction at a scale and speed without parallel in recent history,” he said, also calling for the establishment of new humanitarian crossing points and the resumption of aid operations at the Israel port of Ashdod.

International organizations have warned that after three and a half months of relentless airstrikes and a ground invasion, the tiny land strip’s two million occupants face an acute humanitarian crisis, including the threat of famine and disease.

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