Netanyahu Flip Flop: I Want a Two-State Solution

Days after vowing not to establish a Palestinian state, Netanyahu says something else in his first post-election interview.
By Gil Ronen, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 3/19/2015, 5:24 PM

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has retracted his pre-election statements, according to which he would not allow a Palestinian state to be established.

"I don't want a one-state solution. I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution," Netanyahu said Thursday in an interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell. "I haven't changed my policy."

Netanyahu said his earlier comments were a reflection of changing conditions on the Palestinian side, pointing to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's pact to form a unity government with Hamas, which Israel, the U.S. and most European countries consider a terrorist organization.

"I'm talking about what is achievable and what is not achievable," Netanyahu said Thursday, insisting that he would support a demilitarized Palestinian state under a plan that would ensure Israel's security.

On Sunday, Netanyahu told Arutz Sheva that his 2009 speech at Bar Ilan University, in which he voiced support for a demilitarized Palestinian state, is no longer relevant. "That was said at the time when the Middle East was in a different place... but right now I say - the Middle East has changed," he declared, pointing to the so-called "Arab spring", which he said had become an "Islamist Winter."

Netanyahu had told Arutz Sheva on election day that Arab voters are being brought to the polling booths en masse by V-15 and other NGOs funded from abroad. “We do not have NGOs,” he said. “We do not have V-15, we have 'tzav 8' [as the orders calling up soldiers to the battlefield are called – ed.]. We have you. If you do not go to the voting booth, Ahmed Tibi and Hanin Zoabi will make Buji Herzog prime minister for the Left.

"I wasn't trying to suppress the vote," Netanyahu said. "I'm very proud to be the Prime Minister' of all Israel's citizens." He added that he had received the support of "quite a few Arab voters."

Mitchell asked Netanyahu how President Obama can trust him, after he came to Congress to lobby against Obama's negotiations with Iran.

Netanyahu began to say that there is “an unbreakable bond between Israel and the United States.”

Mitchell interrupted him: “But what about between you and Barack Obama?”

"I think that was reflected in the relationship between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Israel," the statesman replied. "We can have differences but we have so many things to unite us, and we have a situation in the Middle East is very dangerous and presents a common challenge to us."

Mitchell asked if Obama has called yet to congratulate Netanyahu.

“Secretary Kerry has called and I am sure I'll be speaking to President Obama soon,” he replied diplomatically. “We have to.”

“By coming to the US I didn't mean any disrespect or partisanship,” he explained. “We're allies, we have to consult each other. And America has no greater ally.”