Knesset Overwhelmingly Rejects Unilateral Palestinian State Recognition

By Aryeh Stern

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu speaks during a plenum session at the assembly hall of the Knesset, on Monday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

On Wednesday, the Knesset plenum approved the government’s statement opposing the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state by international actors, securing an overwhelming majority with 99 votes in favor. Surprisingly, a significant number of opposition MKs also supported the statement, signaling a rare display of unity on a critical issue.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the plenum after the approval, expressing his satisfaction with the historic majority, stating, “I don’t remember many votes in which the Knesset voted by a majority of 99 out of 120 on any vote.”

The government’s statement, unanimously approved by the Cabinet three days prior, firmly rejects international dictation on a permanent arrangement with the Palestinians. It underscores that such an arrangement should be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties without preconditions. Additionally, Israel commits to opposing any unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, emphasizing that such recognition, particularly in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 massacre, would reward terrorism and hinder any prospect of future peace agreements.

Netanyahu, in his address, emphasized that the united front presented by the Knesset sends a robust message to the international community. He argued that unilateral recognition would not bring peace closer but would instead push it further away. The Prime Minister highlighted the unity among Israeli citizens and their representatives in the Knesset, showcasing a collective stance against moves that could jeopardize Israel’s security and impede progress towards peace, particularly before achieving a complete victory against Hamas.

The vote’s significance lies not only in its decisive outcome but also in the rare bipartisan support it garnered. The rejection of external dictates and the commitment to direct negotiations underscore Israel’s determination to shape its own path toward a lasting and mutually agreed-upon resolution with the Palestinians.

The full statement reads: “1. Israel absolutely rejects international diktat regarding the permanent arrangement with the Palestinians. Such an arrangement will be achieved only by direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions.”

“2. Israel will continue to oppose unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. Such recognition, following the October 7 massacre, will award an immense and unprecedented prize to terrorism, and prevent any future peace agreement.”

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