Last Sunday evening in the USA Benjamin Netanyahu was a featured guest on America's iconic television news magazine, 60 Minutes. In a conversation with CBS correspondent Leslie Stahl, filmed in Israel just before Thanksgiving, Israel's Prime Minister discussed almost the entire scope of Jerusalem's foreign and domestic policies.
If Israel succeeds in persuading President-elect Donald Trump to scuttle the nuclear deal with Iran, what options are available to prevent Tehran from developing atomic weapons?
I think what options we have are much more than you think, Netanyahu said. Many more. ...There are ways, various ways of undoing [the agreement with Iran]. ...I have about five things in mind. ...I'd like to talk to the President [Trump] before I [disclose details] to 60 Minutes.
Is the West gaining any meaningful intelligence from onsite inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities?
No. ...The only good thing I can say about the deal with Iran is that it brought the Arab states and Israel closer together.
Israel’s position in the Arab world has changed. ...They no longer see Israel as their enemy, but as their ally in their ... battle against the forces of militant Islam, either those led by Iran, the Shiites; or those led by Daesh, by ISIS, [who are] militant Sunnis.
What about other Israel's relationship with Russia?
It’s amicable. But the minute Mr. Putin decided to put his military forces in Syria, I went to see him. And I said, “Look, here’s what I’m doing. I’m not intervening in Syria. But at the same time, if Syria tries to intervene with us, if Iran tries to use Syria to attack us, we’ll stop it.
I said, “We should avoid this.” And he said “I agree.” So we coordinated between our militaries because no one wants an inadvertent Israeli-Russian clash.
Is Israel cozying up to America's adversaries?
God, no. ...That's a false impression. You [in the US] have relations with Russia and you have relations with China. We can have relations, economic relations, trade relations with other countries as you do. Why not?
Is Israel pursing diplomacy by offering Israel's technological expertise to nations around the world?
What about the Palestinians and movements throughout the West to boycott Israel, calling it an "occupier" and an "apartheid state" that is expanding settlements in Judea and Samaria?
Palestinians ...look at Aleppo in Syria, and they look at Yemen, and they look at Libya, and they look at other places, and they know that our intention is coexistence.
As for those who label Israel a colonial apartheid state, I don't buy it. It’s not about this or that issue. It’s against the very existence of the State of Israel.
And proposals to stop settlement expansion, even to dismantle them?
Well, we did [that]. We stopped. We stopped in Gaza. We tore out the settlements and gave the Palestinians Gaza. And what happened? Did we get peace? We got 20,000 rockets on our heads and terror tunnels.
The real reason we haven’t had peace is because of a persistent refusal of the Palestinians to recognize a Jewish state in any border. “You ask us to recognize you, I’m willing to do that. I ask you to recognize us. Recognize the Jewish state, for God’s sake.” And if they do, this thing will begin to correct itself very quickly.