Israeli Parliament rejects Palestinian state recognition

Members of the Knesset voted against the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state on February 21, The Guardian reported. 

Israeli lawmaykers’ opposition to the idea comes shortly after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his opposition to the recognition of such a state during a phone call with President Biden in mid-January. 

Netanyahu’s remarks sparked criticism from the United Kingdom and the European Union who are ramping up efforts to achieve a two-state solution, which would mean a Palestinian state in Gaza and the occupied West Bank alongside Israel. 

The opposition to the move also garnered healthy support from the opposition as 99 out of all the 120 parliament members were in agreement with Netanyahu. 

Following the vote, the Israeli premier stated, “The Knesset came together in an overwhelming majority against the attempt to impose on us the establishment of a Palestinian state, which would not only fail to bring peace but would endanger the state of Israel.” 

Opponents of the recognition of the state have recently argued that such a move would be “rewarding” Gaza-controlling militants Hamas for their atrocities in southern Israel on October 7. 

Amidst Israel’s brutal war on Gaza, the international community have stressed the importance of Palestinian statehood and talks have been held on the matter since 2014. That same year, the country refused to accept a state encompassing all of the Palestinian territory illegally occupied by Israel. 

READ: Netanyahu tells Biden “no sovereign Palestinian state”

Far from wanting to restore calm in the region, Netanyahu and his cabal of far-right ministers have made genocidal and unhinged remarks against Palestinians. 

In March last year, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich went as far as denying the existence of a Palestinian people, Netanyahu himself has vowed to “flatten Gaza”, various ministers have been heard calling Palestinians “human animals” and just as recently as February 20, May Golan, the Minister of Social Equality and Women’s Advancement, claimed that she “was personally proud of the ruins of Gaza and that every baby, even 80 years from now, will tell their grandchildren what the Jews did.” 

Reporting from the occupied East Jerusalem,  author and journalist Willem Marx noted that the statehood of Palestine may be out of Israel’s hands and that the idea was steadily gaining support. 

Marx commented, “What we saw just a few days ago from Israel’s cabinet was a vote that was symbolic, saying that they would reject the establishment, the recognition of a Palestinian state if it was forced upon Israel from outside of Israel. 

“In terms of the symbolism (the vote on February 21) this was designed as a message from Netanyahu, as he made clear, to send to the world that Israelis are united on this specific issue of Palestinian statehood being imposed upon them by external powers.” 

The opposition to the recognition gained attention from the Palestinian Foreign Ministry who said that Israel was denying Palestinians a right to a homeland as well as reiterating its discontent at the actions of the Netanyahu government. 

“The ministry reaffirms that the State of Palestine’s full membership in the United Nations and its recognition by other nations does not require permission from Netanyahu.”   

The Guardian/ Al Jazeera 

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