Netanyahu Backpedals on Two-State Comments

After election win, Israeli leader says he still supports the idea
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2015 1:49 PM CDT
Netanyahu Backpedals on Two-State Comments
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a Likud party meeting on March 16.   (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

With polls showing him in trouble on the eve of Israel's election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu disavowed his support for a two-state solution with Palestinians and immediately reversed his political fortunes. With his victory less than two days old, he has already backtracked, reports the Jerusalem Post. “I haven't changed my policy," he tells Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC in an interview that airs this evening, as quoted in the New York Times. "I don’t want a one-state solution. I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution, but for that, circumstances have to change." Netanyahu says his comments before the election—in answer to a question, he said there would be no two-state solution under his watch—were more a reflection of how things had changed on the Palestinian side in recent years.

“I was talking about what is achievable and what is not achievable," he said. "We have to have real negotiations with people who are committed to peace.” Critics had accused him of pandering to right-wing voters to avoid defeat. In the MSNBC interview, Netanyahu also denied that his last-minute video warning supporters that Arabs were voting "in droves" was an attempt to whip up anti-Palestinian sentiment, reports CNN. "I wasn't trying to suppress the vote," he said. "I was calling on our voters to come out." The original two-state comment in particular had irritated the White House, which warned it was re-evaluating its relations with Israel. (Read more Benjamin Netanyahu stories.)

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