PM Binyamin Netanyahu
PM Binyamin NetanyahuIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says he is “ready to go into the tent, the peace tent, and stay in the tent until white smoke comes out.”

Netanyahu made the statement Monday in Jerusalem at the start of a meeting with his counterpart, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta.

 “We want peace. I want peace. We want to restart peace negotiations as soon as possible, without any obstacles,” Netanyahu said. “We have to get into the tent and stay in the tent and seek to end this conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. That’s our goal. 

“That is Secretary Kerry’s effort, which I think deserve consistent and constant European support, and I’m sure that Italy will give that support,” he added.

“In addition, we’re facing significant challenges in our region from security, from a security point of view that I’d like to discuss with you,” he told Letta. 

“I think the immediate one is from Hizbullah, which is one of the pre-eminent terrorist organizations of our time. It’s now participating in the butchering of Syrian civilians with the Assad regime. It’s conducted terror campaigns with Iran across 30 countries, including on European soil...  I think that it’s important that Europe designate Hizbullah as a terrorist organization. Because if Hizbullah isn’t a terrorist organization, I don’t know what a terrorist organization is,” Netanyahu said.

The prime minister also underlined the importance of ensuring that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons “or nuclear weapons capability. That too is something that should be tested by what they do and not what they say,” he warned.

“We should always look at substance over style, and as long as Iran continues to enrich uranium and not to remove its enriched uranium, and to continue its activities in the illicit facility in Qom, I think the pressure should be held on them.  In fact, I think the sanctions should be increased,” he said, “because I think that’s the only ting that might produce results if coupled with a credible military threat.”