The Palestinian prime minister warned Israel on Wednesday that its refusal to accept a two-state solution to the centuries-old conflict would perpetuate an “apartheid” system and eventually result in a one-state reality in which Israel loses its Jewish character.
The Israeli government that took office last June is made up of parties from across the political spectrum, including supporters and opponents of the Palestinian state. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett opposes the creation of a Palestinian state and has refused to meet with Palestinian officials.
“If you have three nos, what are your yeses?” Shtayyeh asked.
It seemed to be a reference to the famous “Three No’s” adopted by the Arab League after the 1967 Six Day War: There is no peace with Israel, there is no recognition and there are no negotiations. Since then, Egypt and Jordan have made peace with Israel and four more Arab countries recognized it last year.
Shtayyeh reiterated long-standing Palestinian demands for a negotiated peace agreement that would create a Palestinian state in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, territories that Israel seized in the 1967 war. He called on the United States and the community. to do more to revive the peace process that has been dormant for a long time.
Israel says it made generous offers to the Palestinians in past rounds of peace talks dating back to the 1990s, while the Palestinians say those proposals did not fulfill their rights under international law. The two sides have not held substantive peace talks in more than a decade.
The current government says that due to its divisions it has adopted a compromise in which it will neither annex territory nor establish a Palestinian state.
But it is actively expanding Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians and much of the international community say undermines any hope of eventual partition. The government has also taken some steps to improve life in the disputed territories.
Shtayyeh said Palestinians now outnumber Jews in Israel and the territories, with 6.9 million Palestinians and 6.7 million Jews between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, without providing a source. Israelis and Palestinians debate the exact figures, but experts generally agree that populations are approaching parity.
Israel’s population of over 9 million includes nearly 7 million Jews and 2 million Palestinian citizens. More than 2 million Palestinians live in Gaza and almost 3 million live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, but still maintains a blockade of the Hamas-controlled enclave with Egypt for security reasons.
Advocates of a two-state solution in which Israel and Palestine live side by side, which is still considered internationally as the only realistic solution, have long warned that if Israel does not create a Palestinian state, it will soon rule. on a Palestinian majority, forcing it. to choose between being a democracy and a Jewish state.
“Israel is an apartheid state today and Israel will continue to be so tomorrow as well,” Shtayyeh said. “If they think we lose tomorrow, they will lose the day after tomorrow.”