"I don't want to govern the Palestinians. I don't want them as subjects of Israel or as citizens of Israel. I want them to have it own independent state. But a demilitarized state," he told Erin Burnett on CNN's "Outfront," Tuesday.
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"I think that I could deliver a peace agreement. I could get the Israeli people to follow me if I believe that I have a serious partner on the other side willing to make the necessary compromises on the Palestinian side."
"Many compromises that people talk about are on the Israeli side. But there are necessary compromises on the Palestinian side... peace is always a two-way compromise," he said.
"I think that peace would benefit us, as I think it would benefit the Palestinians, as it would benefit the entire region," he said.
Asked by Burnett if he would accept the PA's demand for a contiguous territory with no checkpoints, the PM said: "I'm the prime minister who removed 400 checkpoints, barriers, roadblocks and so on to facilitate the growth of the Palestinian economy. This is in line with what I believe is essential.
"It's not a substitute for a political peace… There are so many issues to discuss but you have to discuss them. We have to sit down opposite one another. That's what leaders do."
Netanyahu with top PA negotiation Saeb Erekat (Photo: GPO)
Netanyahu explained that as far as Israel is concerned, a demilitarized Palestinian state "just means that they can't field the armies. They can't fire rockets. That they won't be used a third time by Iran and its Palestinian proxies to fire rockets on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. But we don't want to run their lives."
The future Palestinian state, he added, should not "look like Swiss cheese."
'Iran's peaceful nuclear stance a farce'
Turning his attention to the Iranian threat, Netanyahu said that he hoped the situation vis-à-vis Tehran will be resolved soon and peacefully.
Should the nuclear threat be resolved "with the sanctions, the combination of sanctions, diplomacy (or) other pressures, as the prime minister of Israel I will be the happiest person in the world," he said.
Netanyahu told Burnett that the international sanctions are "certainly taking a bite out of the Iranian economy, but so far they haven't rolled back the Iranian program or even stopped it by one iota."
He further dismissed Tehran's claim that its nuclear work is meant for peaceful purposes: "They say it's for peaceful purposes. They said it's for medical isotopes, that they're developing ICBMs to carry medical isotopes to Europe or Israel or the United States."
'Don't bet on rational' Ahmadinejad (Photo: AFP)
"That's why they're building these underground bunkers, hidden between, underneath mountains. For medical isotopes. You know, that's why they're telling the world that they're going to erase Israel. The medical isotopes.
"This is a farce," he stated. "Nobody can take them seriously."
'Don't count on Iranian rationale'
Burnett noted that no nations with nuclear weapons have ever gone to war with each other, to which Netanyahu said: "I'm not going to comment on Israel's purported capabilities.
"I will say that to date, since the advent of the nuclear age after Hiroshima, all nuclear powers have been very careful with the use, or more accurately the non-use of the nuclear weapon.
"When it comes a militant Islamic regime I wouldn't be too sure, because unlike, say, the Soviets, they can put their ideology before their survival. So I don't think you can bet on their rationality.
Iran, he continued, "Is giving its terror proxies, Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, it's giving them the most advanced lethal weapons… They've been helping them to murder diplomats worldwide and to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan.
"Think of what they'd do with nuclear weapons – and I don't think you want to bet peace in the Middle East and the security of the world on Iran's rational behavior.
"I think it's a much safer bet to do what I and President Obama and others have said. Prevent Iran from acquiring atomic bombs."
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