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March 17, 2015

Netanyahu declares he will not support a Palestinian state


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would not establish a Palestinian state shortly before defeating opponent Isaac Herzog in the Israeli election. The creation of a Palestinian state would give “attack grounds” to Israeli’s opponents, he said.

The statement was a clear reversal from a 2009 remark in which Netanyahu said he would be open to a two-state solution. Under that plan, Israel would continue to exist as a Jewish state alongside a State of Palestine.

“It is a significant turnaround, a clear sign that Netanyahu knows he is fighting for his political survival,” NewsHour special correspondent Martin Seemungal reported.

World leaders have been pushing for a two-state solution for decades, but many details, including the borders of a Palestinian state, remain unclear and negotiations have stalled.

Netanyahu and his conservative Likud party focused on international security issues during this election, Seemungal said. Earlier this month, Netanyahu took a strong stance against Iran and its nuclear program in a controversial speech in front of the U.S. Congress.

But Netanyahu’s center-left opponents, led by the Labor party’s Herzog, said he neglected domestic issues such as the economy and the rising cost of living and housing.

Warm up questions
  1. What do you know about the relationship between Palestinians and Israel?
  2. How does an election change the way the leader of a country addresses controversial issues?
Critical thinking questions
  1. Netanyahu previously said that he supports a two-state solution, but changed his position this week. How could this affect the relationship between Israel and other nations, such as the U.S.?
  2. Why do you think Netanyahu changed his stance? Can you think of any other examples of politicians changing their opinion on a particular topic during an election?
  3. Do you think there will be a two-state solution in the next ten years? Why or why not?

This post has been updated throughout.

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