Netanyahu: If Kerry Pitched a Tent Between Jerusalem and Ramallah, I'd Stay There Until Securing Peace

In interview with Washington Post, the prime minister says the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be solved to prevent a bi-national state; he also warns against new Iranian president, saying Tehran is seeking 200 nuclear bombs.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with the Washington Post on Thursday that he is committed to reaching an agreement with the Palestinians.

In the interview, the prime minister said that he is willing to restart negotiations with the Palestinians, but their demand that Israel halt settlement construction as a precondition serves as an obstacle.

"We should enter immediately into negotiations without preconditions," he told the Washington Post. "If Secretary Kerry, whose efforts we support, were to pitch a tent halfway between here and Ramallah — that’s 15 minutes away driving time — I’m in it, I’m in the tent. And I’m committed to stay in the tent and negotiate for as long as it takes to work out a solution of peace and security between us and the Palestinians."

Netanyahu also stressed that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be solved in order to prevent the development of a bi-national state.

"I don’t want a bi-national state," he told the Post. "I want a state for the Jewish people alongside a state for the Palestinian people…. It’s the balance between effecting a separation between the Israelis and Palestinians and assuring that the Palestinian state does not become an Iranian outpost that concerns my efforts vis-à-vis the Palestinian-Israeli peace process."

Netanyahu also warned against new Iranian President Hasan Rowhani, saying that his strategy is to calm the international community while quietly moving toward a nuclear weapon.

"What Iran is seeking is not one or two bombs but 200 bombs," Netanyahu was quoted as saying. "They’re building ICBMs [intercontinental ballistic missiles] parallel to developing their nuclear weapons program. The ICBMs are not intended for us; they’re intended for you. Within six to eight years, they intend to be able to reach the continental United States."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, gestures while meeting with Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Thursday, May 23, 2013.Credit: AP

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