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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. 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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    If you read Prime Minister Netanyahu’s various statements he, like I’m sure every Israeli, would favor a 2 state solution. The questions include :exactly what it would it look like,and what are the necessary requisites for it to function successfully. One might assess the Palestinian readiness based on the statement that they will accept the existence of a Jewish state “when pigs fly”. Certainly Prime Minister Netanyahu is correct when he says that there should not be a Palestinian state while he is Prime Minister (let’s assume another 4 years). He might be correct if he said15. He might be correct if he said 20. {He might even be correct if he said,–as my Egyptian counterpart stated, that God when asked that question said “not my [God’s] lifetime”.}

    Here, you and others can play a strong role by listing the elements necessary for a Palestinian state. in short form it is “peace and security”. If I were to start drawing up the elements necessary, I would include several key items. Here is one for a start.

    Unlimited right of “close settlement” on the West Bank and Jerusalem for Jews from anywhere in the world. Jews would be able to purchase property and reside anywhere with full legal protection of their property rights and their personal safety . This will require a fully functioning “rule of law” including the court system; land ownership legal codes” a functioning registration office; a functioning police and/or other security force; etc. Citizenship in the sovereignty governing the specific geographic area might be offered to the resident. If not, then permanent residency status with full civil rights should be guaranteed. If the resident is Jewish and if the sovereignty is not Israel ,then at Israel’s discretion, the resident might be offered Israeli citizenship. The resident might also have dual citizenship.

    In all cases I would not automatically grant citizenship to anyone. If the area sovereignty is Israel and the resident is Jewish I would require a loyalty oath and a willingness to serve in the IDF, to pay taxes, to recognize Israeli government sovereignty, etc.. If the Jewish settler is there for “religious purposes” he can function on the religious level and not be a citizen with its obligations and privileges. If the resident is Arab and the sovereignty is Israel then Israel can set the requirements for Israeli citizenship as to loyalty to the state of Israel; serving in the IDF or some other form of National Service; paying taxes etc. Similar arrangements and options can be worked out for Jewish residents and Arab residents of some “Arab sovereignty area”. The bottom line is that residency and property ownership are independent of geographic sovereignty.