Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared in a speech on Monday that Israel's settlements in the occupied West Bank will remain "forever," remarks many critics characterized as an explicit statement of a longstanding commitment to maintaining and expanding settlements that have been deemed illegal under international law.
"There will be no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel," Netanyahu said. "We will deepen our roots, build, strengthen, and settle."
"Israel finally admits it will never remove illegal settlements from occupied West Bank," wrote AlterNet reporter Ben Norton in response to Netanyahu's remarks, which were made during an event "commemorating the 50th anniversary of Israel's occupation of the West Bank."
Others argued that, given Netanyahu's public remarks and actions, any hope that a two-state solution is a viable option is badly misplaced.
"The 'two-state solution' is a blatant and obvious farce that has no purpose other than to allow liberals to justify their support for Israel," concluded The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald, pointing to Netanyahu's speech.
Many reacted to Netanyahu's comments similarly on social media:
eventually journalists will have to start using the word apartheid, or they will be abetting endless occupation https://t.co/56IgGsk1Ro
— noah kulwin (@nkulw) August 28, 2017
The 2-state solution is dead. Time to fight for equal rights for everyone between the Jordan river & the sea https://t.co/Abbi5DKeSk
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— Asaf Ronel (@AsafRonel) August 28, 2017
What a partner for peace that Bibi is. https://t.co/uLAO0JLHqw
— Jonathan Cohn (@JonathanCohn) August 29, 2017
Netanyahu's remarks come as Israel has in the past two weeks destroyed or seriously damaged at least three schools for Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank.
"Just when they were due to return to the classroom, Palestinian children are discovering that their schools are being destroyed," said Hanibal Abiy Worku, a director of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), an independent humanitarian organization. "What threat do these schools pose to the Israeli authorities? What are they planning to achieve by denying thousands of children their fundamental right to education?"
Sami Mruwwah, the Palestinian director of education, vowed to have the schools rebuilt and to "resist against the occupation."
"What happened against the school and its students violates human rights and childhood in particular," Mruwwah concluded. "It is inconceivable for this world to remain silent in the face of the crimes of occupiers against education in Palestine.