PM insists life in W. Bank won't freeze

Netanyahu tells CBS Israel has opened door for peace; says Iran has shown true face (video inside).

June 16, 2009 13:11
2 minute read.


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A day after US President Barack Obama repeated his demand for a cessation of settlements, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reiterated the Israeli settlement policy, which will not expand the territory of Jewish West Bank locales, but at the same time enable the Israelis living there "normal life" until a final agreement is reached, including expanding infrastructures in accordance to natural growth. Speaking with CBS in an interview released on the network's website Tuesday, Netanyahu was asked if he was surprised by the negative Arab response to his Sunday Bar Ilan address, in which he endorsed the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state. "I'm disappointed because I took a step, not an easy step. And I said, 'Here's what we are prepared to do for peace. We're prepared to have a Palestinian state next to a Jewish state.'" "There are two points here," Netanyahu continued. "One, that Palestinians recognize the Jewish state the same way we're asked to recognize the Palestinians. The second is that the Palestinian state be demilitarized so that we don't experience once again the hurling of thousands of rockets on our cities. "I think this is an equitable formula for peace. It's one that enjoys enormous unity in the Israeli public and I think among Israel's friends and supporters abroad and the supporters of peace abroad," he said. "So, yes, I suppose I'd like a better response. And maybe it'll sink in over time. But I think I've opened the door for peace. And I hope that the Palestinians and the Arab world respond to it," Netanyahu said. On his policies towards settlements, Netanyahu said that while there would be a hold on expanding Jewish communities in the West Bank, there could not be a total freeze on any form of building in existent locales, until a final agreement is reached. "We will not build new settlements; we won't expropriate additional land for existing settlements… I hope that my government and the Obama administration can find common grounds," Netanyahu said. "The question of not expanding the territory is different from freezing life. You know, you have children, you have babies born, what are you going to do with them? You have to give them kindergartens, you have to give them schools." "I don't want to grab new land," the prime minister continued. "But we really want people to have normal lives until that final agreement is reached." Netanyahu, who in his Bar Ilan speech called the threat of a nuclear Iran "the greatest danger confronting Israel, the Middle East, the entire world and the human race," said he was convinced that the election results were rigged and reflected the totalitarian nature of the Islamic republic's regime. "I think it unmasks the fundamental nature of the Iranian regime. It's not a democracy. In democracies you don't have violence in the wake of elections, you have a resolution," Netanyahu said. "How can you say the elections were true elections? We know the true nature of the Iranian regime, I hope the entire world now knows that too," he concluded.

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