In his first interview since a day filled with smiles and handshakes at the White House, the Israeli Prime Minister outlined for the first time some of the "concrete steps" promised to President Obama to advance the peace process.
“There are more things we are prepared to do..There are things like additional easing of movements, some questions of economic projects,” Benjamin Netanyahu said. “There are quite a few. The point is we are prepared to do them.”
Netanyahu did not specifically include extending the freeze on the settlement construction set to expire in September, but suggested he was open to that possibility if progress is made in the peace talks.
“I think once we get there realities may change, but I think the most important reality is that we don’t stick on…all sorts of requirements and grievances, “ he said.
Netanyahu told me he wants to put aside all preconditions, excuses and grievances and just start negotiating.
“We want President Abbas to grasp my hand, get into a room, shake it, sit down and negotiate a final settlement of peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” he said.
The Israeli leader said he appreciated yesterday’s warm reception and dismissed the chill in U.S.-Israeli relations, saying it is "natural" for allies to have disagreements.
Netanyahu told me he is confident that he can bring a peace agreement to the region that a majority of Israelis support.
“Don’t be so skeptical,” he said. “Raise your hopes. It’s summer time and we can perform miracles if we set our sights to them.”
Watch the interview here: