Following is a transcription of Prime Minister Netanyahu's comments at a
joint press conference with French President Hollande:
Thank you, Mr. President.
I want to thank you first for the hospitality you showed me and my
delegation. The warmth, the openness. I'm very proud that I will go tomorrow
with you to Toulouse
to give our common position against anti-Semitism, against extremism - extremism
directed against Jews and non-Jews - and against terrorism. I think this is the
foundation of our common civilization. We espouse freedom and we stand together
against those who kill freedom and kill innocent human beings.
So I’m very proud of this partnership. It's going so well that we didn’t need
to discuss our bilateral ties because they are proceeding so smoothly. But I did
ask you, Mr. President, and you agreed to respond, to come to Israel so I can
reciprocate your hospitality, and to welcome you in Israel as the President of
France. I caution the President that I’m not sure we’ll have the same setting
for lunch that we had in the Élysée. It's hard to replicate this. But I think we
can replicate the warmth and the openness of our continued and continuing
In these conversations the first topic that we spent much time on, as you
said Mr. President was Iran. And I want to commend you for the strong position,
France's position, for very tough and even tougher sanctions against Iran. I
think this is very very important. The sanctions are taking a bite out of Iran's
economy, but as I said to you, unfortunately, to date, they have not stopped the
Iranian program. It continues, unfortunately, and it's something that I think is
of common concern to Israel and to France, to the United States, to Europe, to
just about every one of the Arab countries in the Middle East, and to everyone
who wants to see a safe and secure world.
That is not commensurate with the Ayatollahs having atomic bombs. That is why
spoke very clearly at the United Nations and put forward what I believe is
the red line, clear red line, that the international community must place
against Iran's nuclear weapons program.
We also spoke about Syria. And I think we share the common information about
the extent of Iran’s and Hizbullah's support and propping up of the Syrian
regime and that's another reason to curtail Iranian power. And also to expose
this collusion and mass murder of Iran and Hizbullah.
I spoke about the need to prevent another set of weapons of mass death from
falling into the wrong hands. I'm speaking about the Syrian stock of chemical
weapons. These are all threats to peace and security.
We also spoke about how to advance peace and security - by our negotiation
with the Palestinians, with our Palestinian neighbors and the Palestinian
Authority. I stand ready to resume these negotiations. I was ready from the day
I was elected Prime Minister. This was my policy, this will remain our
The distance between Ramallah and Jerusalem is all of seven minutes. It takes
longer to cross a few blocks in Paris. It's very close. There's no reason why we
shouldn’t sit down together. It's not an easy negotiation. We understand that
there will be important steps that Israel will take, there will be important
steps that the Palestinian Authority will have to take. The only way we can
complete a negotiation is if we begin them.
Going to the UN with unilateral declarations and unilateral actions is not
negotiations. It's the opposite of negotiations. I think after four years that
we have tried, repeatedly to get the Palestinians to come and negotiate; it's
about time to sit down and do so. As I said, this is the policy of my
government; This will always be my policy.
I want to thank you Mr. President for the time that you gave me and my
colleagues, for your openness, for your friendship. May I even say your warmth?
This is not usually something that political leaders say, but I say it. I feel a
great warmth and openness and a great friendship and I want you to know that it
is fully reciprocated.
Thank you Mr. President.