Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday told MSNBC’s Greta Van Susteren that peace with the Palestinian Authority (PA) could only be achieved when the Palestinian Arabs accept the Jewish state.
“I’ve always said that the labels are not important. It’s the substance that’s important,” the Prime Minister said when asked if he supports a “two-state solution” for the conflict.
“Peace requires that the Palestinians finally accept the Jewish state and give up their ideas and their fantasies of destroying it, and that Israel retain the security control of the area west of the Jordan River,” he added.
If Israel doesn’t maintain its security interests in the region, continued Netanyahu, the result would be another Islamist dictatorship in the Palestinian-controlled area that “will explode peace and explode the Middle East”.
Asked about the difference between President Donald Trump and President Barack Obama, Netanyahu stressed that the two countries “have a great alliance” no matter who is president.
“I had a big difference with President Obama, obviously, on Iran and some other areas, but we also signed an historic Memorandum of Understanding for security support for Israel for the next decade,” he said.
“There’s a very strong alliance, and I’m not going to start rating presidents. I will tell you, though, that I had a very, very warm meeting with President Trump,” Netanyahu continued.
“There was a great sense of kinship and friendship, and I think that is something that the people of America feel toward the people of Israel, and I assure you the people of Israel feel deeply about America.”
Israel and the United States share the same values, Netanyahu added, noting that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East “and Americans know it.”
The interview came as Netanyahu concluded his visit to Washington, DC, during which he met with President Trump for the first time since Trump took office.
At a joint press conference with Netanyahu on Wednesday, Trump did not commit to the two-state solution.
"I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I'm very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one," he said.
Speaking later in a briefing with Israeli reporters, Netanyahu refrained from using the term “two-state solution”.