JERUSALEM: Israel's parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly backed a proposal by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposing any unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.

The vote came days after the Washington Post reported that US President Joe Biden's administration and a small group of Arab nations were working out a comprehensive plan for long-term peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

It included a firm timeline for the establishment of a Palestinian state, the report said.

On Wednesday, Israel's parliament backed Netanyahu's proposal, with 99 out of 120 lawmakers voting in favour of it.

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"This landmark vote underscores our collective resolve," Netanyahu wrote on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

He said the vote was a "powerful message" to the international community.

The proposal voted in parliament said that any settlement would be "solely through direct negotiations between the parties and without any pre-conditions".

"Israel will continue to oppose unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.

"Such a declaration in the wake of the October 7 massacre would provide a huge reward for unprecedented terrorism and prevent any future peace agreement," it said.

The Washington Post reported that the plan would begin with a ceasefire "expected to last at least six weeks", with officials hoping that an agreement could be reached before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on about March 10.

The agreement would include a pause in the fighting, the release of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza since the October 7 attack, and a timetable for the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state.

The October 7 attack that saw Hamas militants storm across Gaza into Israel resulted in the deaths of around 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Since then Israel's retaliatory military offensive in Gaza has killed at least 29,313 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.


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