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March 19, 2015 12:49 pm

In First Post-Election Interview Netanyahu Says He Supports ‘Sustainable’ Two-State Solution, Never Changed His Policy

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists that US-Israel relations remain strong. Photo: Wikimedia.

JNS.org In his first interview with American media after his Likud party’s election victory, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he supports a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes a Jewish state, if specific circumstances make that a realistic possibility.

“I don’t want a one-state solution,” he said in an interview with NBC News. “I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution.”

In a pre-election interview on Monday, Netanyahu had told the NRGwebsite that he would not support Israeli withdrawal from its territory to make room for a Palestinian state, due to the possibility of attacks by Islamic extremists.

“I haven’t changed my policy,” Netanyahu told NBC News on Thursday. “I never retracted my speech at Bar-Ilan University six years ago calling for a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes a Jewish state.”

Netanyahu said he believes “circumstances have to change” for there to be a Palestinian state, adding that current Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has made a pact with Hamas that calls for Israel’s destruction.

“And every territory that is vacated today in the Middle East is taken up by Islamist forces,” he said. “We want that to change so we can realize a vision of real, sustained peace.”

The U.S. State Department on Thursday said it “can’t forget” what Netanyahu said about his position on a two-state solution earlier this week.

“Certainly, the prime minister’s comments from a few days ago called into question his commitment to that,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

“We believe he changed his position,” she added. “We can’t forget about those [initial] comments.”

The State Department’s comments come as reports said that President Barack Obama was considering a non-binding resolution at the United Nations Security Council calling for a two-state solution based on the 1967 lines and mutually agreed land swaps.

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