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Hours after U.S. President Barack Obama's speech to the United Nations in which he called on Israel and the Palestinians to resume peace negotiations "without preconditions," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sat down for an interview with Haaretz to share his views on the day's events.

Mr. Prime Minister, President Obama mentioned in his speech the need to "end the occupation." You characterized the speech as "positive."

"I think that the speech was a good speech, a positive one, one that expressed our determination to reach peace, and he also said something that we have asked for over the course of the last half-a-year, and that is the need to meet and to begin the diplomatic process without preconditions."

"Secondly, he spoke very clearly and sharply about the right of Israel [to exist] as a state of the Jewish people. And I believe that the refusal to accept this is the root of the conflict [with the Arabs]. So this clear statement which was made on a global stage is important vis-à-vis the Arab world and especially the Palestinians."

"Thirdly, he praised the efforts we have made to ease the roadblocks, advance the Palestinian economy. All of these things advance a diplomatic process that is responsible and measured. The things he said regarding the occupation are not new. He said the same things in Cairo, and in fact this is the formulation that was adopted in the road map, and it does not mean that we have to retreat to the '67 lines."

"This is a wording that was adopted by government that preceded mine, government that did not agree to return to the '67 lines. Obviously we will not agree to this. Even on the issue of settlements he did not say anything new because this is the accepted position by all administrations for the last 40 years."

"What he did say that was new is that these disagreements do not necessarily have to prevent the start of a process which, if it ends successfully, will determine these issues."