During a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem, Czech President Milos Zeman cast doubt on the viability of a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict:
“I was inspired by your idea about one state with two nations, and I know this idea is provocative – any big and great idea is provocative. I wonder what will be your arguments for this idea, because for many, many decades, there has been a discussion about two independent states. But frankly, I do not see [an] independent state in Gaza, because I understand Hamas as a terror organisation and not as a state,” Zeman told his Israeli counterpart.
A warm meeting between the President of the Czech Republic Mr. Miloš Zeman and the President of the State of Israel Mr. Reuven Rivlin. pic.twitter.com/FBzydppbak— Czech Embassy Tel Aviv (@CzechEmbassyIL) 26 November 2018
Rivlin subsequently emphasised that Israelis and Palestinians needed to ‘share the land,’ adding that there had to be a way for both sides to coexist in peace:
“We have to find a way to understand, all of us, that we are not doomed to live here – our destiny is to live here altogether, and we can have a wonderful future for all of us,” the Israeli president said.
Palestinians need to accept the fact that Israel is a ‘Jewish homeland,’ while Israelis should finally realise that Arabs are living here as well, he added.
Back in April, Zeman, who is an outspoken champion of Israel, expressed support for moving the Czech Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem after US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the Jewish capital and relocated the US Embassy there.
Israeli-Palestinian relations have been tense for decades, but tensions escalated in late March when Palestinians kicked off the Great Return March protests along the Gaza Strip, which dramatically evolved into violent clashes between Israeli security forces and demonstrators.
A two-state solution to the long-standing conflict, which envisages an independent State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel, has historically been backed by the international community.
Last week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Israel and the Palestinian Authority to “restore the promise and viability of the two-State solution premised on two States living side by side in peace, harmony and within secure and recognised borders, with Jerusalem as the capital of both”.