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Monday, 23 March 2015

Cameron presses for two state solution: One state would be ‘disastrous’

Prime Minister David Cameron with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, March 2014.

Prime Minister David Cameron with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, March 2014.

Europe’s patience with Israel will run out should it continue building settlements which make it impossible for a separate Palestine state, a former foreign secretary has warned.

Jack Straw pressed David Cameron to emphasise the concerns when he speaks to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu tonight.

The Prime Minister insisted a one-state solution would be “disastrous for the Jewish people” in Israel, with settlement building making the country less stable.

He said he would reiterate Britain’s strong support for a two-state solution and put pressure on both sides to resume talks.

Mr Netanyahu has attempted to backtrack from hard-line statements that ruled out the establishment of a Palestinian state days after winning Israel’s election.

He said he remains committed to Palestinian statehood – if conditions in the region improve.

Speaking in the Commons, Independent MP Mr Straw told Mr Cameron: “When you speak to Mr Netanyahu this evening, would you underline two things?

“The first is in respect of the negotiations with Iran that a deal which is acceptable and honourable on both sides is more likely to help guarantee Israel’s security as well as others than no deal at all.

“And secondly, would you be able to emphasise to Mr Netanyahu that what his party and government have been involved in is trying to change the reality on the ground through settlement building so that if it goes on, it will be impossible for there to be a separate state of Palestine and if he carries on like this the patience of this House and Europe will run out.”

Mr Cameron acknowledged it could be his final Commons exchanges with Mr Straw, who has a home in his Witney constituency.

The PM told Mr Straw: “Can I just pay tribute to you for all the work you have done in government and in opposition, including in some very senior roles at some very difficult times for this country.

“The one pledge I make you is if you continue to live where you do your constituency MP will always stand up for you in this House of Commons and makes sure you receive a premium service.

“I think the two points you make about Israel are absolutely right and they are points I will of course be happy to make, and they’re linked really.

“If there isn’t a two-state solution you end up moving towards a one-state solution which I think will be disastrous for the Jewish people in Israel.

“So I really do believe in the two-state solution and we’re very much opposed to the settlement building that there has been and been very clear about that and will continue to be clear about that.

“It makes a two-state solution more difficult and that in turn will make Israel less stable rather than more stable.”

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