In an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya TV, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of his readiness to talk to the Palestinians anywhere - in Ramallah or occupied Jerusalem.
“Everything is on the table. But we need to get to the table,” he said in reference to negotiating with the Palestinian leadership.
Peace talks between the two nations have been on hold since September last year when Israel began construction of settlements that were earlier partially frozen as part of a deal. Palestine refused to negotiate until Israel ceased construction on land they claim as theirs.
The opportunity for negotiations appear slim due to a deal between Hamas and Fatah as Israel refuses to engage with what it believes is a terrorist organization.
The following are excerpts from the interview, which was aired on July 21:
On Peace with Palestine: “We will always look for people who want peace. We don’t nullify people on their beliefs but we do expect them to recognize and have a place for the State of Israel. If people like Iran or Hezbollah say “the State of Israel shouldn’t exist [or should be] wiped off the face of the earth” then there is not much of a place to go from there.
We have to listen to people with different points of view but from two points: One from the internal Arab point of view: if people say we want democracy then we ask they respect democracy. You can’t expect people to open a democratic door to those who want to destroy it. Two, see it from my point of view: I’m willing to negotiate peace with anyone that’s willing to accept the right of my people and my country”.
On a Palestinian State: “Six Israeli Prime Ministers, myself included, have all agreed to a Palestinian state. So why have we not had peace yet? Two former prime ministers made very generous concessions and we all recognize that we have to make difficult compromises for peace. I recognize that”.
On Jerusalem & Palestinian Refugees: “We couldn’t [reach] peace because the Palestinian leadership did not want to conclude negotiations. My frustration over the past two years has been that we can’t restart the negotiations. And I repeat what I said to you a minute ago that this is the most important thing. I’m prepared to negotiate with President Abbas for peace between our two people right now. We can do it here in my home in Jerusalem, we can do it in Ramallah, and we can do it anywhere”.
On Gaza and the Impeding Flotilla: “We are not preventing the import of goods, food, and medicine to Gaza. Anything can go through. The Gaza economy has grown by 25 percent in the last three months. It’s almost a world record. We are, however, concerned about a naval approach to Gaza because on a ship you can bring in entire rockets [which can be] fired into Israel. We don’t want those sea lines open until there is a regime in Gaza and one that makes peace with Israel and doesn’t fire rockets into it”.
If people want to free Gaza, they should free it from the Hamas regime that doesn’t give the real freedom to the people of Gaza. We have no argument or battle with the people of Gaza. We are concerned with Hamas, a terrorist organization that fires rockets into Israel. That is the only reason behind naval actions”.
Source: Al Arabiya