In one of his most alarming statements yet since the beginning of Israel’s current assault on Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to oppose the existence of a Palestinian state in any future scenario, in favor of Israeli control anywhere west of the Jordan river — an area encompassing all of what remains of Palestine.
“In any future arrangement … Israel needs security control over all territory west of the Jordan,” Netanyahu said in a news conference on Thursday, according to a translation published by the Associated Press. “This collides with the idea of sovereignty [for Palestinians]. What can you do? 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.”
In other words, Netanyahu’s aim — with Israel’s current assault in Gaza and increasingly violent occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem — is to quash any hope of the existence of a Palestinian state in its entirety.
Advocates for Palestinian rights have said that this has been Israeli officials’ plan all along, as Israeli forces slaughter Palestinians en masse in Gaza while working to erase evidence that Palestinians ever existed in the region. However, this is one of the clearest statements yet from Netanyahu himself amid the current siege, suggesting his confidence that he will be able to carry it through with help from allies like the U.S.
Indeed, U.S. officials have already pledged to continue their steadfast support of Israel in light of the remark.
National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby said that the White House opposes Netanyahu’s plan, and said that the Biden administration would continue working toward the supposed compromise of a two-state solution — echoing the many times in recent months that the Biden administration has lightly admonished Israel in statements but continued to send a deluge of weapons and aid to Israeli forces as they indiscriminately massacre Palestinians.
And, even as the administration offered milquetoast criticism of Netanyahu’s vow of ethnic cleansing and mass death, State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller reiterated that the administration’s “support for Israel remains ironclad,” even if there are “differences between our two countries.”
The White House did not mention whether or not their plans for the Palestinian people align with what countries have argued in the International Court of Justice is Israel’s “genocidal intent” for the population. But Israeli officials have made clear that the goal is to drive Palestinians out of Palestine and take over the region — no matter how many Palestinians Israeli forces must kill in that process.
On Wednesday, for instance, Israel security minister Itamar Ben Gvir said that Israel’s plan for its current assault is to “occupy Gaza and stay there” via a “voluntary migration plan,” a phrase that historically means ethnic cleansing when coming from Israeli officials.
This is far from the first time that Israeli officials have called for total control over historic Palestine. In 1977, for instance, the Israeli Likud party, to which Netanyahu belongs, called for “only Israeli sovereignty” in the land west of the Jordan River as part of their platform then. The Likud party ran on a similar platform in its 2022 run to elect Netanyahu, calling for “exclusive and inalienable right to all parts of the Land of Israel” — or what experts noted at the time was a call for the cleansing of Palestinians from Palestine.
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