Netanyahu on Palestinian Statehood: ‘I Didn’t Mean What I Said’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tries to redeem himself by backtracking on Palestinian statehood comment.

High off his party’s victory, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu backtracked on his earlier statement that if elected there would never be a Palestinian state.

"I haven't changed my policy," Netanyahu said Thursday in an interview with NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell.

"I don't want a one-state solution. I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution," he added.

Yet on Monday, when it seemed like his re-election was in jeopardy, Netanyahu said in an interview with Israeli website NRG, “Anyone who is going to establish a Palestinian state, anyone who is going to evacuate territories today, is simply giving a base for attacks to the radical Islam against Israel.”

Netanyahu added that if Palestine was granted statehood, it would certainly be a “terrorist state” because the Palestinians would receive arms from Iran.

This is not the first time Netanyahu has severely flip-flopped on his stances. In 2009, Netanyahu endorsed a two-state solution, but in 2014 he went back to a clear no for a Palestinian state.

In the interview, Netanyahu also commented on his push to suppress Israeli Arabs from voting.

“I wasn’t trying to suppress a vote,” he said. “I was trying to get something to counter a foreign-funded effort to get votes that are intended to topple my party, and I was calling on our voters to come out.”

In response to Netanyahu’s clearly discriminatory Arab voter warning, the White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday, “Rhetoric that seeks to marginalize one segment of their population is deeply concerning and it is divisive and I can tell you that these are views the administration intends to communicate directly to the Israelis."

As much as Netanyahu is trying to salvage his relationship with the U.S., the damage has already been done in the last month. In light of Netanyahu’s initial comments on Palestine, Earnest said the U.S. may explore pushing for Palestinian statehood at the United Nations.

While the Israeli election may have proven that Netanyahu has a significant right-wing following in Israel, the backlash he has received from U.S. citizens and politicians alike in the last month shows how Netanyahu is truly losing on the global stage and his American influence is rapidly diminishing.

Read more: Forget Netanyahu – This History-Making Group Is The Real Story In Israel's Elections

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