Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arrived Wednesday in Israel and stated that his country remained committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including halting the expansion of the West Bank settlements.
In a brief statement to the press jointly with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of their meeting, Johnson said “I should remind you that the policy of our government is for a two-state solution, which is what we want to achieve and hope to help bring about.”
“Of course, we must also try to remove obstacles to peace and progress, such as the settlements,” he added.
Johnson stressed his country’s “rock-like” support of Israel. “Israel has first and foremost an absolute right to live in security, and the people of Israel deserve to be safe from terrorism,” he said.
The two leaders seemed friendly, but Netanyau said “it’s evident that we agree on most things but not on all things,” adding that peace hasn’t been achieved because of Palestinian refusal to “recognize a nation state for the Jewish people.”
Johnson’s meeting with Netanyahu followed a meeting earlier on Wednesday with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas and Foreign Minister Riad Malki in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
After the meeting in Ramallah, the base of the Palestinian National Authority government in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Johnson said he remained hopeful of the chances to establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
The one-day visit was Johnson’s first official visit to Israel. He also met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
His comment came after the U.S. President Donald Trump backed away from the U.S. long-held commitment to a two-state solution. “I’m looking at two-state and one-state and I like the one that both parties like,” Trump said during a meeting with Netanyahu in Washington in February.
Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East War and has been controlling it ever since despite international criticism. Enditem