Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that achieving a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be impossible with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the helm of the Israeli government. “Netanyahu’s statements against a two-state solution and against a Palestinian state … are proof, if correct, that there is no seriousness in the [future] Israeli government about a political solution,” Abbas told Agence France-Presse.
Netanyahu, head of the right-wing Likud party, withdrew his support for Palestinian statehood on the eve of the election this week and vowed to build thousands of new homes for Jewish settlers in east Jerusalem, which is occupied by thousands of Palestinians. The prime minister, who was elected to a fourth term, had announced his endorsement for a Palestinian state in 2009, after U.S. President Barack Obama was first elected. Earlier this year, the Palestinians joined the International Criminal Court to pursue war crimes charges against Israel.
Abbas said the likely inclusion of Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s foreign minister and leader of the ultranationalist Yisrael Bietenu party, in Netanyahu’s coalition government would worsen the situation. Lieberman led a hostile election campaign against both the Palestinians and Israel’s Arab minority, suggesting disloyal Israeli Arabs should be beheaded. “Whoever is with us should get everything,” Lieberman said during a speech last week, according to the Jerusalem Post. “Whoever is against us, there’s nothing else to do. We have to lift up an ax and remove his head, otherwise we won’t survive here.”
Still, Abbas said Palestinians will continue to “demand international legitimacy” and seek statehood through the United Nations and other international bodies. “It is our right to go anywhere in the world to achieve international legitimacy,” the Palestinian leader told AFP.