Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sat down for an interview with "Good Morning America" anchor George Stephanopoulos on April 18, 2010. The following transcript of their interview has been edited for clarity.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Prime Minister, thank you very much for doing this.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Thank you. Good to be with you, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It's pretty clear that the U.S.-Israel relationship has … hit some hard bumps in recent weeks. Who's to blame for that?
NETANYAHU: Oh God. I think with any family, with any relationship, the relationship of allies, even your relatives, you have ups and downs. You have disagreements. But I think this relationship between the United States of America and the people of Israel is rock solid. We … have a great … I would say a great conformity of interests and values that will … get us through this. And we'll try to work out the disagreements in a way that is commensurate with that spirit.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about some of the disagreements. The President -- you met with the President on March 23rd. It was an extraordinary visit-- to the White House and no public pictures. The President apparently kept you waiting-- while he went up and had dinner and left you waiting in the Roosevelt Room.
And it's been reported that the President made several demands. That Israel freeze all settlements in East Jerusalem and that Israel be prepared in these indirect peace talks to start to talk about the substance on … boundaries. On Jerusalem. On refugees. Have you told the President that … you're prepared to meet the demands he set out?
NETANYAHU: You know have so many assumptions in that question so let me parse them out. One, I don't know how the meeting was perceived but I don't think there was any such intention on the part of the President. I think we have some outstanding issues. We're trying to resolve them through diplomatic channels in the best way that we can.
Second, on the question of Jerusalem we've had-- not my personal policy but the policy of … all governments including Yitzhak Rabin's, Golda Meir's, Shimon Peres for the last 42 years. Now the Palestinian demand - and I don't … I'm not saying what the American position is. But the Palestinian demand is that we prevent Jews from building in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem. That is, you know, that is an unacceptable demand. If we made it in London or made it in New York or in Paris, people would cry foul.
The issue of Jerusalem would be discussed and will be discussed in the final settlement and negotiations. But to bring it forward, to say that these neighborhoods that are part and parcel of … Jerusalem, they're not isolated hilltops in the West Bank. They're about four minutes' drive from here. About 200,000 Israelis live there.
The (pronunciation unclear) neighborhood that was -- in the news was populated by Yizhak Rabin. He wasn't against peace. Neither were all the other prime ministers, including until a year ago, that were building in these neighborhoods, these Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem. And the Palestinians were negotiating peace with them. This demand that they've now introduced, the Palestinians, to stop all construction, Jewish construction in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, is totally, totally a nonstarter.