The Hunt for the Future
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Prime Minister Yair Lapid expressed support for the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, the first Israeli leader to explicitly endorse a two-state solution to the long-running conflict in years, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“An agreement with the Palestinians, based on two states for two peoples, is the right thing for Israel’s security, for Israel’s economy and for the future of our children,” Lapid said during a speech at the United Nations General Assembly.
Lapid – who is currently serving as Israel’s caretaker prime minister – has long supported a Palestinian state and recently reiterated his position in July during a visit to Israel by US President Joe Biden.
The speech comes as Lapid is facing a tough battle to retain his post in the upcoming November elections. Israeli political analysts said the announcement was an attempt to attract voters who support a two-state solution.
Even so, his speech drew condemnation from Israeli political opponents, who accused him of jeopardizing the country’s security. Palestinian leaders also criticized his comments, saying Lapid’s words are hollow without efforts for peace talks.
Meanwhile, the UN speech follows a months-long Israeli military operation in the West Bank to root out militants. According to the UN, more than 80 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank this year, the highest death toll in seven years.
The Oslo Accords, signed by Israeli and Palestinian delegates in 1993, outlined a peace process that would culminate in the establishment of an independent state, but there has been little progress since the last serious talks ended in 2014. Polls show that support for a two-state solution has been dropping in recent years among both Israelis and Palestinians.