After winning the 2015 elections in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has changed his stand for the second time in a week regarding the possibility of a Palestinian state.
Clarifying comments he made during his campaign, he asserted he would be in support of a Palestinian state only if the conditions are appropriate.
“What I said was that under the present circumstances, today, it is unachievable,” Netanyahu said in an interview with Morning Edition.
“I said that the conditions have to change. I don’t want a one-state solution. But I certainly don’t want a zero-state solution, where Israel’s very existence would be jeopardized,” NPR quoted him saying.
Netanyahu had expressed his disinclination towards supporting a Palestinian state if he was to be re-elected. He further emphasized that an Israeli evacuation could allow Islamic extremists backed by Iran to occupy the land and attack Israel.
Dani Dayan, a prominent leader of West Bank settlers, said Netanyahu’s recent statements were “disorienting and zigzagging.”
The Wall Street Journal quoted Dayan, saying Netanyahu will never accord to a two-state arrangement despite him saying what was necessary during the election campaign to secure votes.
“Still I don’t like to see him reverse on two states,” Dayan said.
President Barack Obama called Netanyahu to congratulate him, and reiterated that a two-state solution was empirical as part of a peace agreement. USA Today reported that Obama and Natanyahu have been in extensive talks regarding the latter’s stance on a two-state plan.
Nevertheless, Netanyahu has agreed to work with Obama.
“America has no greater ally than Israel, and Israel has no greater ally than the United States,” he said.
However, U.S. officials said Netanyahu’s dismissal of his stand regarding a Palestinian state has made it tough for Obama and the administration to “accept Netanyahu’s clarification.”
“If he had consistently stated that he remained in favor of a two-state solution, we’d be having a different conversation,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.