Netanyahu: Israeli settlements "a bogus issue"

(CBS News) When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the United Nations Tuesday, most of the attention focused on his , but the prime minister also talked about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

In an interview on Tuesday with CBS News' Charlie Rose, Netanyahu addressed the Jewish settlements that many see as an obstacle to peace.

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When pressed by Rose about the settlements that many in the world believe "stand in the way of a solution," as Rose put it, Netanyahu replied, "The world believes a lot of things. But the world doesn't get it. And here's what they don't get."

He continued, "Let me tell you what I think is the issue, and then you can judge whether you agree with me or not, and the same thing I say to everyone in the world: The settlements and the territories are not the cause of the conflict."

Rose said, "Nobody says that - but they are (standing) in the way of a solution-"

Netanyahu said, "It's the result. ... But, but here's the way you get a solution. They don't stand in the way either. Ninety percent of the Jewish population is clustered in the - Judea-Samaria, the West Bank is clustered in a tiny fraction of that land. It's not an issue. It's a bogus issue. Suppose we just walk away from every settlement. We dismantle everything. We walk away - the way we did in Gaza (in 2005). We walked away and what happened?"

Rose said, "That was a different prime minister who had the courage - to walk away. Well, it turned out that it didn't work out. They came in and Hamas continued to take-"

Netanyahu said to Rose, "So how do we know that it doesn't happen again? In other words, the settlements- Charlie, you're not going to escape this. I gotcha. ... The lesson of Gaza is that the settlements, we tore up the settlements, we removed, we disinterred people from their graves, we gave the whole territory, lock, stock and barrel to the Palestinians, to (Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas. It was taken away from him in two seconds by Hamas and Iran. And they continue to fire 10,000 rockets at us."

With all the discussion on the Middle East, from Iran to Syria, Rose pointed out everything is at play and that it could be an opportunity.

Netanyahu said, "Some of it is opportunity. We have to be very responsible, buck the trends, don't go by fashion. If you govern by fashion, and you govern by the, you know, the kind of editorials you're gonna get, you'll get good editorials which will be - you know, and you - then you'll get - wonderful eulogies. I'd rather have bad press - and no eulogies. Better bad press than a good eulogy. ... My responsibility is to ensure the survival, security, longevity of the one and only Jewish state. I will do that pursuing peace. I will make - and I'm prepared to make historic compromises. I will never compromise on Israel's security. Never."

To see this portion of Charlie Rose's interview with Netanyahu, watch the video above.

  • Amanda Cochran

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