Deal with Palestine "based on two states for two peoples" is the right thing for Israel's security, Israeli PM Yair Lapid tells UN General Assembly, but asks resistance groups to lay down arms.
Israel's Prime Minister Yair Lapid has delivered a speech at the UN General Assembly focused on the Palestinians that included a call for a two-state solution to end the decades-long conflict in the Middle East.
"An agreement with the Palestinians, based on two states for two peoples, is the right thing for Israel's security, for Israel's economy and for the future of our children," Lapid said on Thursday.
"Peace is not a compromise. It is the most courageous decision we can make ... [but] we have only one condition: That a future Palestinian state will be a peaceful one."
Lapid directed his speech to the Palestinians and said, "Put down your weapons and prove that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are not going to take over the Palestinian state you want to create. Put down your weapons, and there will be peace."
Lapid also urged more Arab nations to normalise relations with Israel and to join the Abraham Accords – normalisation deals between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain that were brokered by the US.
"The Israeli proposal to revive the two-state solution has been widely welcomed here," said TRT World's Jon Brain, who is reporting from New York.
"But there's little optimism it will be implemented. Opposition lawmakers in Israel have been quick to condemn Lapid's speech and elections are due there in less than six weeks."
Speech short on details
The speech, coming ahead of the November 1 elections, appeared to be part of an effort by Lapid to portray himself — both to voters and global leaders — as a statesman and moderate alternative to his main rival, hardline former PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
But Lapid, who has long supported a two-state solution, was short on details.
Lawmakers in Israel's parliament, Knesset, are divided on whether they want to pursue a two-state solution with Palestine.
Besides blockaded Gaza, Palestine seeks the West Bank and East Jerusalem — territories occupied and annexed by Israel in 1967 — for a completely independent country, a position that enjoys wide international support.