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Benjamin Netanyahu rejects calls from US for Palestinian state after Gaza conflict | World News

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected US calls for the development of a Palestinian state, as he vowed the offensive in Gaza would press ahead for many months.

In a nationally televised news conference on Thursday, Mr Netanyahu struck a defiant tone, repeatedly saying that Israel would not halt its offensive until it achieves its goals of destroying the Hamas militant group and bringing home all remaining hostages in Gaza.

“We will not settle for anything short of an absolute victory,” Mr Netanyahu said.

It comes as Israel’s closest ally, the US, has urged the country to scale back the intensity of its devastating military offensive that has killed nearly 25,000 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

The US has said the internationally recognised Palestinian Authority, which governs certain zones in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, should be “revitalised” and returned to Gaza, having been ousted from the territory in 2007.

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IDF footage of ‘strikes’ and ‘weapons hub’

The US has also called for steps towards the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Speaking on Wednesday, Antony Blinken, US secretary of state, said the two-state solution was the best way to protect Israel, unify moderate Arab countries and isolate Israel’s arch-enemy, Iran.

Without a “pathway to a Palestinian state” Israel would not “get genuine security”, he said at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

At the same conference, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Faisal bin Farhan al Saud, said his country was ready to establish full relations with Israel as part of a political agreement, but this could only happen “through peace for the Palestinians, through a Palestinian state”.

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Netanyahu on ‘any future arrangement’

Mr Netanyahu – head of the far-right government in Israel – has repeatedly opposed a two-state solution, claiming it would be a launching pad for attacks on his country.

Instead, he said on Thursday that Israel “must have security control over the entire territory west of the Jordan River”.

“This truth I tell to our American friends, and I put the brakes on the attempt to coerce us to a reality that would endanger the state of Israel,” he added.

His comments were immediately rebuked by White House spokesperson John Kirby, who vowed President Joe Biden would “not stop working” towards a two-state solution.

“We obviously see it differently,” he said.

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US state department spokesperson Matthew Miller said despite disagreements, the country’s support for Israel “remains ironclad”.

“This is not a question of the United States pressuring them to do anything. This is about the United States laying out for them the opportunity that they have,” he said.

Before Hamas’s attack on 7 October, Israeli citizens were bitterly divided over Mr Netanyahu’s plan for a judicial overhaul, but the country has since rallied behind the war.

Roughly 130 hostages are believed to remain in Hamas captivity, Israel claims.

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