REUTERS/ Jessica Rinaldi
In an interview Sunday on NBC's “Meet the Press,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he wants the Palestinians to have their own state, but also wants security for Israel.
“The Palestinians want a state, but they have to give peace in return,” Netanyahu stated.
The interview came after Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas gave a speech to the United Nation's General Assembly Friday asking them to vote in favor of granting statehood to the Palestinians, a move that the United States vowed to veto.
Netanyahu criticized the Abbas’ speech, saying that the two of them, not the U.N., should negotiate a peace settlement.
“What should succeed is for [Palestinians] to sit down with us and get two states for two people, a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes a Jewish state,” Netanyahu said.
In an interview on ABC's “This Week,” British Prime Minster David Cameron agreed that peace needs to be negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinians and cannot be imposed by the U.N.
“We want to see a Palestinian state alongside a secure state of Israel,” Cameron said. “The only way for this, in fact, to come about is for the Israelis and Palestinians to sit down and to agree on the state, the borders, and its security and the security and safety of Israel.”
Netanyahu also said that he worries that the Palestinians want their own state, “to continue the conflict with Israel, not to end” the conflict with Israel.
“Meet the Press” host David Gregory noted that Abbas, in his speech, referred to the “crime of Israel” as starting in 1948 (when Israel became a nation), not 1967 (the Six-Day War when Israel took control of Jerusalem).
“I was so disappointed to hear him say that,” Netanyahu said, “because he was going back. I was trying to move forward.
“I have deep, deep connections to this land, the land of Israel, the land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jacob was the father of Benjamin, that's my namesake. Four thousand years we've been connected to this land.”
Abbas mentioned the historical ties of Muslims and Christians to the land of Israel in his speech, but said nothing about Jewish ties to the land. Netanyahu said he wanted to remind Abbas that Jewish ties to the land predates that of Muslims and Christians.
“Abbas says this land has been sacred to Muslims and Christians for 2,000 years. Hello! We've been around there. Two-thousand years? You know Jesus came from a certain place. There's this Bible thing, which precedes it.”
Netanyahu then put forth a set of rhetorical questions for Abbas.
“What is this? Why can't you recognize our history? Why can't you recognize the Jewish connection to the Jewish land? And, why can't we … recognize the past, seize the future? And, I'm willing to do that.”
Netanyahu also praised the support of Americans for the state of Israel, saying, “Israel enjoys tremendous bipartisan support, tremendous.”
He also said that Israelis are pro-American. “Israel is the one country in which everyone is pro-American, opposition and coalition alike … We're the only reliable allies of America in the Middle East.”