Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says that not all the communities in Judea and Samaria will be part of Israel in a peace agreement, but that he will do his utmost to ensure that as many as possible do remain under Israeli control.
In an interview with Channel 2 News, which will air in full on Saturday night and of which parts were released Friday, Netanyahu also promised that no Israeli will be left without proper security in a future agreement with the Palestinian Authority (PA).
“I will not leave a single Israeli without Israeli security, without the full security that we can ensure for every Israeli,” he said, adding, “We of course will not abandon any Israeli citizen.”
Asked whether he would be willing to consider evicting Jewish communities as part of a future peace deal, Netanyahu replied, “It’s obvious that some of the settlements will not be part of an agreement. Everyone knows that. I will ensure that it’s the smallest number possible, if we get to that point. And I will not abandon any Israeli.”
The interview marks the first time that Netanyahu has given interviews to the Israeli media since several days before the Knesset elections in January of 2013. Since that time, Netanyahu has given interviews to the foreign media but not to any Israeli outlets.
As he made his way back to Israel from his visit to the United States, the Prime Minister gave similar interviews to Channel 10 News, Kol Yisrael radio and the Israel Hayom daily newspaper.
In the interview with Kol Yisrael radio, Netanyahu also said that he would reject any agreement that does not ensure the security of all Israelis, even if others try to force such an agreement on him.
Asked whether he would promote a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria if talks fail, Netanyahu said he would prefer not to get to such a point. Unilateral withdrawals, he added, have not proven themselves and have not provided stability and security.
Netanyahu’s interviews come as peace talks with the PA continue and as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is preparing a framework agreement for the two sides.
On Thursday, the PA’s Al-Quds newspaper reported that Israeli and PA leaders have received copies of Kerry’s framework, of which few details have been made public.
Earlier this week, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas continued to impose preconditions on peace talks, this time telling MK Zehava Galon (Meretz) that he “will put the keys on the table and turn to international organizations” if Israel does not freeze construction in Judea and Samaria.
This is not the first that Abbas has imposed preconditions on talks with Israel and threatened that unless all these preconditions are met, there will be no peace.
Nevertheless, Netanyahu told Channel 10 News that a building freeze is not on the agenda for Judea and Samaria.
"We have already had a building freeze and seen that it does not give us [positive] results," he stated. “We froze [construction] for a year, ten months. Did anything come out of it? No, nothing came of it at all."
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)