Israeli PM Lapid backs two-state solution with Palestinians

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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Thursday called for a two-state solution to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying Israel would “do what it takes” to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. He reiterated that he would do anything.

The first mention of a two-state solution by an Israeli leader at the United Nations General Assembly in years reflected U.S. President Joe Biden’s support for a long-dormant proposal in Israel in August.

“A deal with the Palestinians based on two nations for two peoples is the right thing for Israel’s security, Israel’s economy and the future of our children,” Rapid said.

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He added that any agreement would be contingent on a peaceful Palestinian state that does not threaten Israel.

Rapid spoke six weeks before the Nov. 1 elections that could restore power to former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a longtime opponent of the two-state solution.

In the 1967 Middle East War, Israel occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, where Palestinians are seeking an independent state. US-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014.

In his speech, Rapid again denounced Iran and expressed Israel’s determination to prevent its longtime enemy from acquiring nuclear weapons.

“The only way to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is to put a credible military threat on the table,” he said. “We have the ability and we are not afraid to use it.”

Prime Minister Yair Rapid of Israel addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York City, USA, 22 September 2022. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Israel, widely believed to have the only nuclear weapon in the Middle East, sees Iran as an existential threat. Tehran denies developing nuclear weapons.

Palestinians, US reaction

Efforts to reach a bilateral agreement between Israel and Palestine have long stalled.

Palestinians and rights groups say Israel has established control over the occupied Palestinian territories through military control over millions of Palestinians and continued settlement building.

Waser Abu Youssef, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, told Reuters that Rapid’s words “mean nothing”.

“Whoever wants a two-state solution must implement it on the ground,” he said, respecting the agreements reached earlier, halting settlement expansion and making East Jerusalem a future Palestinian state. recognized as the capital of

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides called Rapid’s speech in support of a two-state solution “courageous”.

Rapid praised efforts by Middle Eastern countries to normalize relations and work with Israel. He urged Muslim countries from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia to make peace.

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Reported by Henriette Chacar of Jerusalem.Editing by James Mackenzie and Howard Goller

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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