Middle East Minister: Chance for two-state solution ‘closing very quickly’

Middle East Minister: Chance for two-state solution ‘closing very quickly’

Alistair Burt responds to debate in Westminster where MP and former Army officer Bob Stewart said the plan is "increasingly impossible"

Alistair Burt
Alistair Burt

The opportunity to achieve a Two State Solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is “closing very quickly” according to Middle East Minister Alistair Burt.

The option “increasingly impossible” according to Tory ex-army officer  Bob Stewart, who said “another way” was needed to end the ongoing struggle.

Speaking of his concern over how a two-state solution would “practically work” on the ground, he said a one-state solution could be the answer,

The Beckenham MP said: “The two-state solution is increasingly impossible as those tentacles of settlements go into places like Area C in the West Bank.”

Middle East minister Alistair Burt, responding to the debate on behalf of the Government, reaffirmed the commitment to a two-state solution but cautioned that the window of opportunity was “closing very quickly”.

He said: “We remain absolutely convinced both of the need to recognise Israel’s existence, security, its need for defence and security and also the legitimate rights for justice for the Palestinians, but to recognise that the windows that we’ve all been looking for are closing very quickly. If not two-state, what? If not now to move forward, when?

Mr Burt told MPs the Government would continue to press and would continue to take a “balanced position” with the hope of being involved in a constructive peace process.

He added: “This is not something that can be left or managed or disappear of its own accord.”

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Labour’s Louise Haigh, who was leading the debate on the humanitarian situation in Gaza in Westminster Hall, said she understood concerns about the two-state solution but replied: “I genuinely don’t see a one-state solution as a possibility and I certainly don’t envisage that it would ever be acceptable to Israel.

Tanmanjeet Dhesi, Labour MP for Slough, earlier said the two-state option was the “only solution to this conflict and that is what we should be enforcing upon all parties”.

Ms Haigh (Sheffield, Heeley) said she “absolutely” agreed with Mr Dhesi, telling MPs: “It remains the policy of the Labour Party and indeed of the Government to support a two-state solution and it is certainly in my perspective the only way forward for Israel and for Palestine.”


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