Grant Shapps 'disappointed' by Netanyahu's opposition to Palestinian state

Britain's defence chief says UK remains committed to two-state solution

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said there was no option other than a two-state solution for postwar Israel-Gaza. PA
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UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps has said opposition by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the creation of a Palestinian state is "disappointing".

"I don't think we get to a solution unless we have a two-state solution," he told Sky News on Sunday.

Mr Shapps added the UK "certainly remains wedded to" a two-state solution and that there "isn't another option".

Mr Shapps later told the BBC that "Palestinians deserve a sovereign state, Israel deserves to have the full ability to defend itself, its own security.

"Unless you pursue a two-state solution, I really don't see that there is another solution.

"Now, you'll get a lot of different views within the Israeli government, of course, it is a rainbow coalition.

"So we very much distinguish between the views of individuals and our overall support for Israel as a country."

'Completely unacceptable'

Meanwhile, Labour's shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper told Sky News that Mr Netanyahu's opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state following the Israel-Gaza war was "completely unacceptable".

Ms Cooper repeated the words of her colleague, shadow foreign secretary David Lammy, whose speech was disrupted by a group of pro-Palestinian protesters on Saturday, that opposing the creation of Palestinian state was "morally and practically wrong".

She also echoed Labour leader Keir Starmer's comments that "statehood of a people is not in the gift of its neighbour, it is the right of a people and it is the right of the Palestinian people".

The comments follow those made by Antonio Guterres at a Non-Aligned Movement summit in Uganda on Saturday, where the UN Secretary General said: "The refusal to accept a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians, and the denial of the right to statehood for the Palestinian people, are unacceptable."

Updated: January 21, 2024, 2:00 PM