Israel's parliament has rejected unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state

Israel's parliament overwhelmingly backed a motion by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against any unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.

The vote came days after the Washington Post reported that US President Joe Biden's administration and a small group of Arab states were developing a comprehensive plan for long-term peace between Israel and the Palestinians. It includes a firm timetable for the creation of a Palestinian state.

Israel's parliament backed Netanyahu's proposal, with 99 out of 120 lawmakers voting for it. "This remarkable vote underscores our collective resolve," Netanyahu wrote on social media platform X. He said the vote was a "powerful message" to the international community. The proposal, voted in parliament, states that any agreement will be possible "only through direct negotiations between the parties and without any preconditions". "Israel will continue to oppose the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. "Such a declaration after the October 7 massacre would provide a huge reward for unprecedented terrorism and prevent any future peace agreement," it said.

The Washington Post reported that the plan would begin with a cease-fire "expected to last at least six weeks," with officials hoping an agreement could be reached before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan around 10 March. The agreement would include a pause in fighting, the release of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza since the October 7 attack and a timetable for the eventual creation of a Palestinian state. The Oct. 7 attack, in which Hamas fighters swept through Gaza into Israel, killed about 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to AFP figures based on official Israeli figures. Since then, Israel's retaliatory military offensive in Gaza has killed at least 29,313 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-ruled territory's health ministry. /BGNES, AFP