George Stephanopoulos' One-on-One with Benjamin Netanyahu

NETANYAHU: Well, we have a long standing policy and we're not about to change it. But let me tell you this. People sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, the NPT. That doesn't guarantee anything. You know who signed it? Iraq under Saddam Hussein when they build the Osirack nuclear reactor. They violated it … Even though they were signatories.

Libya that had a secret nuclear program. They were signatories to the NPT. Though they -- even though they violated it. In fact Syria (who) recently was building a reactor, a secret reactor in violation of the NPT, they were signatories to the NPT.

And Iran itself, that is violating left and right the NPT … even taking people into guided tours of the centrifuge holes, it's a signatory to the NPT. So that doesn't really help you. You know, if the world changes, if the, you know, if the Middle East one day advances to a messianic age where the lion lie down with the lambs, then you can ask me this question again, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you … so no time soon will Israel sign the NPT?

NETANYAHU: No, we will not change our policies. I wanna make it clear. Those people-- those states who have signed the NPT have violated it left and right. And the Middle East-- the problem in the Middle East is not this or that treaty or these or that signatories.

The problem is … those regimes that call directly for Israel's destruction are developing atomic weapons, weapons of mass death, to achieve that destruction. And so it's not whether we sign or whether they sign and are signatories to it. It's how do we prevent these people, these states, these regimes, these leaders like Ahmadinejad, from acquiring nuclear weapons. That's the main focus of the international community. And that certainly is -- should be the focus of -- everyone concerned with peace and security.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Final question, sir. You've likened the U.S.-Israel relationship at the top to a family. To a family that goes through ups and downs. What will it take for the U.S. and Israel to be one big happy family again? And when do you expect peace talks with the Palestinians to begin?

NETANYAHU: I hope as soon as possible. I've been calling for peace talks from day one. I extended my hand to the Palestinians. I've done all these things … that I told you. Gestures for peace. Stopping the road blocks. Calling for a two state solution I'm waiting and eager for them to come back.

If think they're not asked to put aside all preconditions and negotiate, they're not gonna do it. And I'm -- we've been talking to the United States. We've been talking -- I've been talking to the President. We've been talking through diplomatic channels. I hope that we can get this together.

But it should be clear that there's a bond between us that I think supersedes these questions. And I think the important thing is to use that bond to get all the enemies of peace and all the enemies of the United States to move back.

In fact there is a big contest in the area it's not merely here with the Palestinians. I think that's the minor part. And I think with good intentions, which we have-- and with the United States' assistance, we can get to peace. But there's a larger force of radical Islam that wants to eradicate peace. Wants to eradicate Israel. Wants to eradicate any American presence in the Middle East.

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