Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday that Israel cannot live side by side with a new Palestinian state if it must continually be in fear of attack.
But Netanyahu repeated in a nationally broadcast interview his groundbreaking statement saying that he would accept a Palestinian state. At the same time, he told NBC's "Today" show in an interview from Jerusalem that it would have to be a demilitarized state.
On the issue of further Jewish settlements in territory the Palestinians wish to claim as their own in a new state, Netanyahu said "I think I made it also clear that I would not build new settlements." He said that he and President Barack Obama are trying to resolve that issue.
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Netanyahu said his vision is of separate Jewish and Palestinian states, living side by side in harmony, "not enmity."
The prime minister said his concern about Israel's security "is not a political exercise."
"We've got an enclave in Gaza and we can't have rockets in Tel Aviv," he said.
Netanyahu said that Israel has been pummeled by attacks from its Palestinian territories, telling NBC's Ann Curry: "Let's just think about seven rockets in New York, not to mention 7,000 in Tel Aviv ... Of course, that's (demilitarized zone) a requirement for peace."
On the issue of new settlements in the West Bank, he said, "This is a subject that I have discussed with" Washington.
"I think that President Obama and I are trying to reach a common understanding of this," he said. "I think we'll find some common ground."