Can Netanyahu Be Trusted?

Here is what the Israeli premier and his officials said - you decide.

Peter Beinart
Peter Beinart
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures to supporters as reacts to exit poll figures in Israel's parliamentary elections late on March 17, 2015.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures to supporters as reacts to exit poll figures in Israel's parliamentary elections late on March 17, 2015.Credit: AFP
Peter Beinart
Peter Beinart

“I want a sustainable, peaceful two state solution.” —Benjamin Netanyahu, in English, to Andrea Mitchell, March 19, 2015

“I think that anyone who moves to establish a Palestinian state and evacuate territory gives territory away to radical Islamist attacks against Israel.”
—Benjamin Netanyahu, in Hebrew, to Sheldon Adelson-owned, pro-settler website NRG, March 16, 2015

“I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan.” —Benjamin Netanyahu, in Hebrew, at a press conference, July 13, 2014

“There was never a government discussion, resolution or vote about the two-state solution.” —Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, to The Times of Israel, June 6, 2013

“Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon [of Netanyahu's Likud party] ruled out the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel in a speech at a cultural event on Saturday afternoon in the South Sharon Regional Council.”
—Jerusalem Post, January 12, 2013

“Likud’s platform to date has not recognized the establishment of a Palestinian state.” —Likud official to Haaretz, December 25, 2012

“This government is not interested in solving anything with the Palestinians, and I say this [with] certainty.” —Yuval Diskin, director of the Israeli Internal Security Service (Shabak) under Benjamin Netanyahu from 2009 to 2011, April 28, 2012

“He doesn’t support [a Palestinian State]. He supports [proposing] the sorts of conditions that they [the Arabs] will never accept.” —Benzion Netanyahu, father of Benjamin Netanyahu, in Hebrew, July 9, 2009

“We are ready to agree to a real peace agreement, a demilitarized Palestinian state side by side with the Jewish state." —Benjamin Netanyahu, in Hebrew, Bar Ilan University, June 14, 2009

“Two states for two peoples is a stupid and childish solution to a very complex problem.” —Ron Dermer, senior aide to Benjamin Netanyahu, May 21, 2009

“His [Netanyahu’s] opposition to a Palestinian state is also a matter of principle, one he has held for many years.” —Aluf Benn, editor, Haaretz, March 1, 2009

“All of us saw Bibi as a kind of speed bump that would have to be negotiated along the way until a new Israeli prime minister came along who was more serious about peace.” —Aaron David Miller, Clinton administration deputy special Mideast coordinator, The Much Too Promised Land, 2008

“Neither President Clinton nor Secretary Albright believed that Bibi had any real interest in pursuing peace.” —Dennis Ross, Clinton administration special Mideast coordinator, The Missing Peace, 2004

“He could open his mouth and you could have no confidence that anything that came out of it was the truth.”—Former Clinton administration press secretary Joe Lockhart to Clayton Swisher, The Truth About Camp David, 2004

“I do not believe such a [Palestinian] state is a historic imperative, any more than the triumph of socialism—which leftist parties once touted as inexorable—was such an imperative. Nor do I think Israel can achieve peace only by establishing a Palestinian state. On the contrary, I am convinced that such a state will endanger Israel and cause war.” —Benjamin Netanyahu, The Jerusalem Report, May 24, 1999

“You cannot believe a word he [Benjamin Netanyahu] says.” —Likud politician Limor Livnat, as quoted in Ben Caspit and Ilan Kfir, Netanyahu: The Road to Power, 1998

“the armor-plated bullshitter” —British Foreign Office nickname for Benjamin Netanyahu, as reported by former Tony Blair aide Alistair Campbell, 1998

“Not only do members of the Clinton administration, Arab heads of state, some of Israel’s security chiefs, President Weizman, Knesset members across the spectrum and even cabinet ministers consider him [Benjamin Netanyahu], to put it mildly, disingenuous, but so too does much of the Israeli public” —David Horowitz, The Jerusalem Report, August 17, 1998

“To subdivide this land into two unstable, insecure nations, to try to defend what is indefensible, is to invite disaster. Carving Judea and Samaria out of Israel means carving up Israel.” —Benjamin Netanyahu, A Place Among the Nations, 1993

“The stumbling block to the road for peace is this demand for a PLO state. ... When this demand is abandoned we can have real and genuine peace.”
—Benjamin Netanyahu (then known as Benjamin Nitay), in English, 1978

This article was first published in The Atlantic.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


The Orion nebula, photographed in 2009 by the Spitzer Telescope.

What if the Big Bang Never Actually Happened?

Relatives mourn during the funeral of four teenage Palestinians from the Nijm family killed by an errant rocket in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip, August 7.

Why Palestinian Islamic Jihad Rockets Kill So Many Palestinians

בן גוריון

'Strangers in My House': Letters Expelled Palestinian Sent Ben-Gurion in 1948, Revealed


AIPAC vs. American Jews: The Toxic Victories of the 'pro-Israel' Lobby

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic speaks during a press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia in May.

‘This Is Crazy’: Israeli Embassy Memo Stirs Political Storm in the Balkans

Hamas militants take part in a military parade in Gaza.

Israel Rewards Hamas for Its Restraint During Gaza Op