PM: For Palestinian state to emerge everyone needs to adjust concepts of sovereignty

Only way to ensure that territory ceded by Israel does not turn into “third Iranian enclave around Israel's border” is to have long-term security presence.

October 5, 2014 22:53
3 minute read.
 “Face the Nation”

Netanyahu speaks with Bob Schieffer on CBS's “Face the Nation” . (photo credit: screenshot)


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If there is ever to be a Palestinian state, everyone is going to have to adjust their ideas of sovereignty, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview broadcast Sunday.

Netanyahu, who filmed the interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria during his stay last week in New York, said that the only way to ensure that territory ceded by Israel does not turn into a “third Iranian enclave around Israel’s border” is to have a long-term Israeli security presence inside a future Palestinian state.

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The Palestinians, according to Netanyahu, “say: ‘Oh, you can’t do that. That offends our sovereignty. We can’t have the security presence or military presence of our former enemy on our soil. That doesn’t square with independence.’ I say: Really? How about American forces in Germany 70 years after the fact or in Japan or in South Korea?” While acknowledging that “no analogy is perfect and identical,” Netanyahu said that if Hamas takes over the West Bank, “they could stop our international airport with mortars, not rockets, not missiles.

Mortars, a guy with a mortar. So we have to find a security solution that is real, and I think it’s possible.”

To do this, he said, “I think we have to adjust our conceptions of sovereignty. I don’t know if there’s absolute sovereignty anywhere. I don’t see it in the economic field. We’re all tied to international structures.

We’re all tied to limitations.

And I think we have to think about having these security arrangements, which over time could be made shared security arrangements, but that’s the way to keep Israel safe, paradoxically to keep the Palestinian Authority intact, and ultimately to secure peace.”

The Palestinians have made clear that they are adamantly opposed to any protracted Israeli security presence anywhere in a future Palestinian state, including along the Jordan River.

Asked about Israel’s assessment of the strength of Islamic State, Netanyahu – who just a month ago put the figure of Islamic State fighters at 10,000, or about half that of Hamas – said Sunday that they have “several tens of thousands by now. It’s growing by day because they’ve got about 2 million petrodollars revenue a day.”

As to whether the situation in the Middle East, where all Israel’s enemies seem to be fighting one another, was good or bad for Israel, Netanyahu replied, “When your enemies are fighting each other, don’t support one or the other.

Weaken both. That means that we fully support [US] President [Barack] Obama’s goal to defeat ISIS [Islamic State], but we also believe that you should prevent Iran from becoming a threshold nuclear power, to prevent them from having the capacity to enrich enough uranium for the bomb in short order.”

When asked whether Israel could live with an Iran that retains some 5,000 centrifuges, reportedly some 3,500 more than the Americans are saying they are willing to let them have, and 4,500 less than the Iranians are demanding in negotiations, Netanyahu replied: “To the extent that they have centrifuges, which is contrary to our position, the more they have, the worse the deal gets. The fewer they have, the more time it will take them to enrich uranium to make the bomb.”

In another interview aired Sunday that was also filmed last week, with Bob Schieffer on CBS’s Face the Nation, Netanyahu was again asked about the harsh US criticism of the Givat Hamatos development – which the prime minister stressed was a development meant for both Jews and Arabs – and allowing Jews to move into the overwhelmingly Arab neighborhood of Silwan.

“I think condemning it is wrong,” he said. “And I’m, frankly, baffled. I think it’s not the American way.”

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