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Nick Clegg condemns Netanyahu for ruling out two-state solution

19-03-2015 14:19

Source: www.theguardian.com

 

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has described the Israeli prime minister’s pledge that he will not agree to the creation of an independent Palestinian state as “alarming”, saying it may lead a future British government to formally recognise Palestinian sovereignty.

 

Binyamin Netanyahu’s rightwing Likud party surged to victory in Tuesday’s national election in Israel, after he abandoned a prior commitment to an independent Palestinian state and warned the electorate that Arab citizens would vote “in droves”, apparently to attract last-minute support among conservatives.

 

Whereas David Cameron tweeted his congratulations to the Israeli prime minister, Barack Obama expressed concern about Netanyahu’s divisive rhetoric.

 

“I actually share president Obama’s views much more than David Cameron’s,” Clegg said during his weekly radio phone-in show on LBC. “It is extremely worrying – it cannot be more alarming – to have seen Binyamin Netanyahu do something which no leading Israeli politician has ever done; to rule out the prospect of a two-state solution.”

 

Clegg said that he hoped Netanyahu’s comments had been “breathless rhetoric which he is now going to row back from”, but that if the Israeli prime minister continued to rule out a two-state solution and expand illegal settlements then “the world, including the British parliament, would have no option, inevitably, but to recognise a Palestinian state”.

 

He said that a formal move to recognise a Palestinian state would be in response to “extreme provocation from Netanyahu”. 

 

In October 2014, parliament voted 274 to 12 in favour of a non-binding backbench motion to recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel. 28 of the Liberal Democrats’ 56 MPs voted in favour and one (Sir Alan Beith) voted against.

 

Clegg said: “It cannot be right, given that this is a crucible of so much violence and division across so many communities, that one man – in what I assume was a desperate attempt to curry some votes – should basically tear up the basic tram lines on which a peace deal is likely to occur.”

 

Earlier this year the Israeli ambassador to Britain wrote to Nick Clegg to express his abhorrence at “offensive and shocking” comments made by Liberal Democrat MP David Ward regarding the presence of Netanyahu at the solidarity march in Paris after the terrorist attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The MP for Bradford East tweeted: “#Netanyahu in Paris march – what!!! Makes me feel sick” and “Je suis #Palestinian.”

 


Topics : #Palestine #RecognisePalestine #Israeli Election #Benjamin Netanyahu #LibDem #Nick Clegg #David Cameron #Barack Obama #David Ward

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