Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, July 15, 2018. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sept 26, 2018 he accepts a self-ruling Palestinian authority but only if Israel will retain the security control over such territory. (ROREN ZVULUN / POOL / AP)
JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday he accepts a self-ruling Palestinian authority but only if Israel will retain the security control over such territory.
I am prepared for the Palestinians to have the ability to defend themselves without the ability to threaten us. Except for Gaza, security control over west of the Jordan River to the sea will remain in our hands
Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister, Israel
The remark was made during a briefing to Israeli reporters at the United Nation after Netanyahu met US President Donald Trump, during which Trump for the first time explicitly endorsed a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Netanyahu said Trump's endorsement did not come "as a surprise," according to Israel's Ynet news site.
"I am prepared for the Palestinians to have the ability to defend themselves without the ability to threaten us," he said. "Except for Gaza, security control over west of the Jordan River to the sea will remain in our hands. That is non-negotiable and will not change as long as I am prime minister. I am confident that any American initiative will include this principle."
Netanyahu said at his meeting with Trump, which was attended also by Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, Kushner said that "everyone interprets the term 'state' differently."
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Netanyahu echoed Kushner's remark, saying "I am dealing with the essence, not the description. The question is: what is a country? Whether it is Costa Rica or Iran, there are many possibilities."
Previously, Trump was unclear on his stance on the preferable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Last February, during a press conference with Netanyahu, he said, "I am looking at two-state, and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like... I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two. But honestly, if Bibi (Netanyahu,) and if the Palestinians, if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I'm happy with the one they like the best."
In his landmark speech in 2009 at the Bar Ilan University outside Tel Aviv, Netanyahu pledged his support to a two-state solution based on a territorial compromise.
He withdrew his support for Palestinian statehood during his re-election campaign in 2015, in a last-minute attempt to draw more votes. He backtracked on this statement after winning the elections several times and then again said he will never accept a Palestinian state.
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