George Stephanopoulos' One-on-One with Benjamin Netanyahu

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah. As … you know, sir, a lot of those neighborhoods in East Jerusalem were empty lands as recently as 1993 when Yitzhak Rabin met Yasser Arafat on … the White House lawn. They are next to Palestinian neighborhoods. Not contiguous to other settlements, which is one of the reasons why President Obama has … called for a freeze. It does seem to be your position right now is fairly clear on that. I would just say what would be your reaction then if the President decides, as he's been advised by some, to put a United States peace plan on the table?

NETANYAHU: Well, first of all, on these neighborhoods which are part and parcel of Jerusalem and has not displaced anyone and no Palestinian, Palestinians live in their … in Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem. Jews live in Jerusalem neighborhoods.

And everybody, in any peace plan that I know, every single one-- including in the Camp David summit of … 2000 and including in other programs that have been put forward, in every single peace plan these neighborhoods will, Jewish neighborhoods will remain part of Jerusalem and part of Israel. And so the the real question is why are we arguing about something that's not a real argument? I don't think that it makes any sense.

As far as the idea of a imposed settlement, I … don't believe anyone will seriously think that you can impose peace. Peace has to come from the parties sitting down with each other, resolving their differences. And this is what we want to achieve. This is what I want to achieve.

And I've taken steps in words and deeds in the last year to do that. And I … think the Palestinians have to show that they're committed. The quickest way to prove that is to remove preconditions, get in the room and start negotiating.

You can't end the peace negotiation unless you begin it. I'm for beginning it right now. And you know what, George, I'm using your good auspices to again call on the Palestinians. We'll resolve the differences through a negotiation. Come and negotiate peace. We're--

(Cross talk)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me follow up on that. President Obama has said it's very clear that he believes that making progress in this peace and negotiations is in a vital U.S. national security interest. Is it in the vital national security interests of Israel? And how worried are you about the prospect of war that King Abdullah of Jordan has raised? He said if no progress is made by this summer war could break out?

NETANYAHU: I … think no one wants war. And certainly Israel doesn't want war. Israel wants peace. We … yearn for peace. It's a vital interest for us. You know, we know the pains of war. I -- last night I just went to the cemetery to visit the grave of my brother who fell while rescuing the hostages at Entebbe.

I myself was wounded in a battle to rescue a hijacked Sabina airplane. I've lost friends and relatives in the wars of Israel. I don't want my children or the Palestinian children or anyone's children to suffer through a war. So we don't have to be goaded into peace. We want peace. The people of Israel want peace, pray for peace, yearn for peace. And I want peace. That is in our interest.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...