PM on Larry King: Direct talks now

Netanyahu stresses US, Israel's 'common interests' in US interviews.

Binyamin Netanyahu on Larry King 311 (photo credit: YouTube)
Binyamin Netanyahu on Larry King 311
(photo credit: YouTube)
NEW YORK – As part of his trip to the United States, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave televised interviews Wednesday to CNN’s Larry King and CBS’s Katie Couric, in which he repeatedly highlighted his willingness to engage Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in direct talks – even on television.
“Let’s get on with the business of concluding peace,” Netanyahu told King in the interview, saying he would be willing to meet Abbas in any location to start direct talks with the PA.
RELATED:Coalition strengthened by Netanyahu-Obama meetingKing then asked if Netanyahu would be willing to talk through issues with Abbas on the Larry King Live show, referencing his 1995 show with former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, PLO leader Yasser Arafat and Jordan’s King Hussein.
“You’re on, Larry,” Netanyahu told the soon-toretire newsman. “From my point of view, immediately.No problem.”
Netanyahu also reiterated his interest in direct talks during his interview with Couric, saying that when it came to the peace process, he had “been pretty bold, but I’m willing to be bolder.”
The prime minister told both interviewers that he would be willing to discuss settlements within the context of direct talks with the Palestinians. He qualified the statement in the Couric interview, saying that he was not talking about “Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem that everybody recognizes are going to remain part of Israel”; rather, unspecified parts of the West Bank would be up for discussion in the context of final negotiations.
Netanyahu was asked in both interviews about the apparent positive tenor of his meetings with US President Barack Obama.
“You know, you... you remind me of the Israeli press. They say, ‘How come you had a good meeting with President Obama?’ Well, because I did,” Netanyahu responded when Couric pressed him on whether he had any disagreements with the Obama administration.
“Because we, we actually see eye to eye on... some central issues. The quest for peace. The danger of Iran.The need to bolster security, for Israel and the region. That’s the truth. We do see it. Have we had differences? Of course we have,” he said.
“Some awkward moments?” Couric asked.
Netanyahu replied, not a little dismissively, “Yeah, of course, we’ve had. So what?” In both interviews, Netanyahu reiterated that “common interests” bound the United States and Israel.
“We have our ups and downs. People focus on the downs, and the downs are exaggerated and sometimes distorted,” Netanyahu told King in reference to the USIsrael relationship. “But there are ups and there’s a basic bedrock of identification, common values between Israel and the United States.”
He added, “I think the support for Israel and the American people and the intertwining of interests and cooperation between our governments is increasing all the time. It’s obscured by the bumps on the road. But there’s no question that the road is going forward and going upwards, I have no doubt about that.”
While Couric’s interview largely focused on the peace process, King’s interview spent a significant amount of time on the Iranian threat.
Both interviewers asked Netanyahu about the Gaza flotilla incident. Couric asked if Netanyahu had any regrets as to Israel’s conduct, to which Netanyahu responded that while he regretted the loss of life, he did not have misgivings about Israeli conduct in the raid.