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'Two-state solution no longer possible after Hamas attack', Israel ambassador to the UK says
20 November 2023, 19:02 | Updated: 20 November 2023, 19:07
The Israeli ambassador to the UK has said that a two-state solution is no longer possible after the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7.
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Tsipi Hotovely said that an independent state of Palestine was politically impossible, in part because Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, was not too different from the Hamas leadership because of his refusal to condemn the October 7 massacres.
Some 1,200 people were killed in the Hamas attack, Israel's government has said. Around 13,000 have been killed in the Israeli response, according to Hamas.
Israel has invaded Gaza after the attack and encircled Gaza City. Its soldiers are currently in the al-Shifa hospital, where they say they have found a Hamas base. Patients have had to be evacuated from the hospital, including 31 premature babies.
But the country's leadership has said that they don't want to occupy Gaza permanently after the end of the war, and its troops are simply trying to root out Hamas, find the 240 hostages taken by the terrorists, and guarantee Israel's own security.
Asked by LBC's Andrew Marr about a two-state solution, Ms Hotovely said: "It's not possible because as we speak, the leader in the politic of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas refuses to condemn those horrific crimes that Hamas committed, so he doesn't even try to look like a different leader than the leaders that are in Gaza."
Andrew Marr quizzes Israeli ambassador Tzipi Hotovely
Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Israel would have "overall security responsibility" in Gaza for an indefinite period after its war with Hamas.
And Palestine's ambassador to the UK Husam Zomlot has previously compared the IDF's current operations in Gaza constitute a replay of the 1948 'Nakba', when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced from their homes in the newly-formed state of Israel.
But Ms Hotovely insisted that Israel does not want to occupy Gaza, pointing out that Israel ended its occupation of the strip 18 years ago.
"In 2005, we left Gaza, so we had no interest controlling the people of Gaza," she said. "But the problem that created the seventh of October was the fact that Israel had zero security control on all the ammunition [in Gaza]."
She added: "So the prime minister said that in order to demilitarise the Gaza Strip, Israel must have military abilities in the Gaza Strip, like we have in many other places in the region in order to protect our people.
"And I'm afraid no other country will volunteer to demilitarise the Gaza Strip".
Israel has posted footage online of what it says are Hamas tunnels underneath the al-Shifa hospital, which it claims lead to a terrorist command centre. Hamas and doctors at the hospital have denied that the base exists.
But the World Health Organisation and United Nations have condemned the army's operations in the hospital, and the impact they have had on patients.
Ms Hotovely said that Israel had done what it could to help patients. She said: "For three weeks, we called to evacuate Al Shifa Hospital. We worked with our allies in the international community to make sure those patients will have alternatives."
She added: "We even work with the British government to try to create some solutions... There's so many solutions, Israel offered to make sure people the patients will be safe.
"But in the end when you walk into the Shifa Hospital, and just this week, we expose those videos coming from the security videos, our car video cameras of this hospital, they used it as a place to put the hostages in. We saw the grenades, we saw the rockets.
"What type of hospital do you think is holding grenades?"
Ms Hotovely also claimed that Hamas had tried to block Israel from evacuating the premature babies.