Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

UN, Arab League Chief Endorse 2-State Solution | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A general view picture shows the Israeli barrier running along the East Jerusalem refugee camp of Shuafat, in an area Israel annexed to Jerusalem after capturing it in the 1967 Middle East war February 15, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

The United Nations and the Arab League on Thursday issued a joint statement endorsing the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul-Gheit affirmed that the conflict “It requires a comprehensive and just settlement based on a two-state solution and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on … 1967 borders with its capital in Jerusalem,” a statement said after he met U.N. chief Antonio Guterres in Cairo.

The statement came a day after Trump and the visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to endorse the two-state solution as the preferred outcome of peace talks, abandoning what has been the cornerstone of U.S.-led peace efforts for two decades.

After their meeting in Cairo, Guterres and Aboul-Gheit said they agreed the two-state solution is “the only way to achieve comprehensive and just settlement to the Palestinian cause.”

Egypt also reiterated its commitment to a two-state solution, a foreign ministry spokesman told state news agency MENA.

Guterres called on Wednesday for a two-state solution in a speech in Cairo, saying there was “no Plan B”.

The statement put them at odds with Trump, who said at a White House meeting with Netanyahu that Mideast peace does not necessarily have to include the establishment of a Palestinian state. Trump said he could accept a two-state solution or a single-state arrangement if it is agreed upon by all sides. Netanyahu also was cool to the idea of an independent Palestine, saying he did not want to deal with “labels.”

The Palestinians and the international community have long preferred the establishment of an independent Palestinian state to establish peace in the region.

If Israel continues to control the occupied West Bank, the thinking goes, it will eventually have to give millions of Palestinians citizenship and voting rights, endangering the country’s status as a democracy with a Jewish majority.

But Netanyahu’s governing coalition is dominated by hard-liners opposed to Palestinian statehood, citing the West Bank’s value as a security asset and its connection to Jewish history.

A new poll released Thursday showed the number of Israelis and Palestinians who support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state has dropped in recent months. But far more people continue to prefer the two-state solution to an alternative single-state arrangement.

The poll found that 55 percent of Israelis and 44 percent of Palestinians support a two-state arrangement. That was down from 59 percent and 51 percent support last June. Yet just 24 percent of Israelis and one-third of Palestinians prefer a single binational state, the poll found.

The EU-funded poll was conducted by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at Tel Aviv University and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. It questioned over 1,200 people on each side in December and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.