Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned Costa Rica as an example of a peaceful nation that maintains a good relation with his country, despite supporting a two-state solution. He made the comment during his joint press conference with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House.
A reporter asked Netanyahu at the conference, held Wednesday: “Do you back off from your vision to the end of the conflict of two-state solution as you laid out in Bar-Ilan speech, or you still support it?”
In his response, the Prime Minister questioned what Abu Mazen — Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine — means by two states. He said:
“A state that doesn’t recognize the Jewish state? A state that basically is open for attack against Israel? What are we talking about? Are we talking about Costa Rica, or are we talking about another Iran? So obviously it means different things.”
The PM also told the reporter that he had already cited the conditions that he believes are necessary for an agreement. “It’s the recognition of the Jewish state, and it is Israel’s security control of the entire area. Otherwise, we’re just fantasizing,” Netanyahu said.
The press office of Foreign Minister Manuel González Sanz responded to a Tico Times request for comment on the remarks by saying that for now, González will not address the issue.
Costa Rican governments during the past decade have been in favor of a two-state solution.
In 1947, Costa Rica had the decisive vote at the United Nations General Assembly on the partition plan that led to the establishment of Israel.
However, President Óscar Arias formally recognized Palestinian statehood in February 2008, sparking a debate about the status of Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza.
Two years before, Arias had already shaken the country’s relations with Israel when he decided to move the Costa Rican Embassy from Jerusalem to the Israeli capital, Tel Aviv.
At the time the Costa Rican and Salvadoran embassies were the only two located in Jerusalem.
Watch Netanyahu’s remarks at the press conference in the White House.