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Wikileaks: PM 'doesn't want to govern the West Bank'

November 30, 2010 09:25

Before forming coalition, Netanyahu tells US senator he supports "the concept of land swaps," but will not "go back to unilateral withdrawals."

Netanyahu at a weekly cabinet meeting

311_netanyahu does slow clap. (photo credit:Yossi Zamir)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu supports "the concept of land swaps" and does "not want to govern the West Bank," according to a cable from the US embassy in Tel Aviv, released by Wikileaks this week.

In a meeting with Senator Benjamin D. Cardin (D-Maryland) in February 2009, before President Shimon Peres asked Netanyahu to form a coalition, the Likud Party leader outlined his plans for "economic peace" with the Palestinians, which would give them "a viable alternative to radicalism."

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Netanyahu "suggested a rapid move to develop the West Bank economically" and "promised to 'take charge personally'" of bureaucratic reform in the Palestinian Authority.

He also said that his government "would not 'go back' to unilateral withdrawals," and "noted that he had not established any new settlements when he was Prime Minister." Already in 2009, Netanyahu expressed support for a "temporary freeze" in settlement-building.

Netanyahu also said that he supported "'refined' Palestinian sovereignty without an army or control over air space and borders." He added that Israel and the Palestinian Authority would have to negotiate about territory and settlements before discussing Jerusalem and refugees.

In the same cable, Netanyahu said "Syrian interest in peace negotiations with Israel were really overtures to the United States," and that Syria would not give up its relationship with Iran.

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