Foreign Secretary William Hague warns that if progress is not made on the Middle East peace process in 2013, then “people will increasingly conclude that a two-state solution has become impossible”.
Speaking in the House of Commons today, Mr Hague warned that the two-state solution may no longer be feasible in two years’ time.
“I attach enormous importance to this in the year 2013, particularly with a new or reelected Israeli government and with a US administration beginning its second term. If we do not make progress in the coming year, people will increasing conclude that a two-state solution has become impossible.”
He added: “It is very much in the long-term strategic interests of Israel and peace in the whole region to embrace the two state solution because all alternatives to that will be more problematic for the Israelis
Israelis voted on Tuesday in an election that is expected to hand hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a third term.
However, Mr Netanyahu’s own Likud party, running alongside the ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu group, looks set to have fewer seats than in the previous parliament, with opinion polls showing a surge in support for the far-right Jewish Home party, led by hi-tech millionaire Naftali Bennett.
Mr Bennett has ruled out any peace pact with the Palestinians and calls for the annexation of much of the occupied West Bank.
Political sources said Mr Netanyahu, concerned by his apparent fall in popularity, might approach centre-left parties after the ballot in an effort to broaden his coalition and present a more moderate face to Washington and other concerned allies.
Some 5.66 million Israelis are eligible to cast a ballot, with polling stations closing at 10pm (2000 GMT).
Full results are due by Wednesday morning, opening the way for coalition talks that could take several weeks.