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Israeli prime minister walks back comments on Palestinian state

Israeli prime minister walks back comments on Palestinian state
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE on Thursday walked back his comments suggesting he would never support a two-state solution.

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“I want a sustainable, peaceful, two-state solution. But for that, circumstances have to change,” he said on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”

“If you want to get peace ... you’ve got to get the Palestinian leadership to abandon their pact with Hamas and engage in genuine negotiations with Israel for an achievable peace,” he said.

Netanyahu said he had not retracted his comments in a 2009 speech that suggested he would support a demilitarized Palestinian state under certain conditions.

He said that if the U.S. does not block a United Nations resolution giving statehood to the Palestinians, “that state would become a terrorist state.” If that happened, Netanyahu said he feared that Iran would provide weapons to the Palestinians in the West Bank.

The prime minister’s conservative Likud Party won a significant victory in Tuesday’s elections.

In the lead-up to the elections, he decried a two-state solution as he looked to rally voters to his right.

"I think that anyone who moves to establish a Palestinian state and evacuate territory gives territory away to radical Islamist attacks against Israel," he said. “The left has buried its head in the sand time after time and ignores this, but we are realistic and understand.”

Observers of Israel will now watch to see if President Obama and Netanyahu can mend their frayed relationship. Netanyahu has been a frequent critic of the administration-supported talks over Iran’s nuclear program.