Bibi reiterates backing for Palestinian state on ‘Today’


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his support for a demilitarized Palestinian state in an interview on NBC’s "Today" show.

Speaking from Jerusalem, Netanyahu told news anchor Ann Curry that Israel could not have a new Palestinian state as a neighbor if it constantly felt threatened.

The Israeli leader asked Curry to think about what it would be like to have rockets striking New York after she pointed out to Netanyahu that one Palestinian legislator has already called the idea of a demilitarized Palestinian state a "ghetto."

"We’ve received 7,000 rockets since we got out of Gaza. And we can’t have rockets on Tel Aviv, which makes life unbearable," he said. "Just think of seven rockets on New York, let alone 7,000 rockets, and you’d understand our concern with demilitarization."

Netanyahu also reiterated that Israel would not construct new settlements.

"I think that I made it also clear that I would not build new settlements and that I would not expropriate land for additional building in existing settlements. This is a subject I’ve been talking to Senator Mitchell, who has been here a number of times. I’m going to see him again soon in Europe. And I think President Obama and I are trying to reach a common understanding of this. And I hope, with good will — and certainly we have good will, and I’m sure the president has that, too — I think we’ll find such common ground."

Curry asked Netanyahu at what point Israel would "go it alone and bomb Iran to stop its nuclear ambitions."

"It’s not just an Israeli issue," he said. "It is, of course, first and foremost, an issue for our security. But I think it’s an issue for the security of the entire world. And I hope the United States leads a successful effort, with the right kind of pressures, to make Iran cease and desist from acquiring those nuclear weapons."

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