Peace process

PM Benjamin Netanyahu's interview with Bloomberg

  •   PM Benjamin Netanyahu's interview with Bloomberg
    ​Let me be clear -- negotiations are always preferable. But six prime ministers since Oslo have failed in their pursuit of a negotiated settlement. They’ve always thought we were on the verge of success, and then [Yasser] Arafat backed off, Mahmoud Abbas backed off, because they can’t conclude these negotiations.

    We don’t have a Palestinian leadership that is willing to do that. The minimal set of conditions that any Israeli government would need cannot be met by the Palestinians….

    What the Palestinians keep saying is, Look, we want the maximum. We will not make any adjustments in our demands. Nothing. Not tactical, not strategic.

    I think Palestinian society is divided into two. The first half openly calls for Israel’s destruction. And the second half refuses to confront this and refuses to confront the demons inside their own camp.

    ….The Americans said the only way Abbas is going to come into negotiations is either you release prisoners or freeze settlements: Choose. We chose [to release prisoners]. We made it very clear to the U.S. and to the Palestinians exactly how much we would build, including in Jerusalem. We built exactly what we said we would build in every one of the tranches. It wasn’t that we surprised anyone with extra construction.

    The settlements are an important issue, but they are not the core of the problem….Just a few years ago, we were told that the Palestinian issue was the core of the conflict in the Middle East…. This absurdity was widely believed. There was no challenging it. Then there was a second illusion: that if you solved the Palestinian problem, you’ll get the Arabs to agree with you on a tougher policy on Iran. Well, that’s out the window now because they oppose Iran regardless of the Palestinian issue. Now the last illusion remains: The core of the problem in the Israel-Palestinian conflict is the settlements. That’s about as truthful as the previous illusions. The real issue was and remains opposition to the Jewish state.

    …the Palestinians would not lock horns with the primary obstacle to peace, which is the refusal to end the conflict with Israel once and for all. To recognize that the Jewish people have the right to self-determination, just as the Palestinian people do. My insistence on recognition of the Jewish state is not a tactical PR stunt. It goes to the core of the conflict. 

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