For the last several days, the entire Western media has run with a false story: the story that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he no longer would, under any circumstances, endorse the possibility of a Palestinian state.
Ha’aretz, a left-wing Israeli newspaper opposing Netanyahu, reported Netanyahu’s supposed comment with this headline: “Netanyahu: If I’m Elected, There Will Be No Palestinian State.” The rest of the media quickly followed. Days later, when Netanyahu said that he had never disavowed his prior support for the possibility of a Palestinian state – support he expressed in a speech at Bar Ilan University in 2009 – the media accused Netanyahu of flip-flopping.
There is only one problem: Netanyahu never said that a Palestinian state was out of the question.
The interview in which Netanyahu expressed the much-misinterpreted remark took place with the conservative Israeli publication NRG. It also took place in Hebrew, a language virtually none of the members of the Western press read or speak; most simply took the Ha’aretz report and ran with it. Netanyahu was asked directly about whether his Bar-Ilan speech was “irrelevant.” Here is what Netanyahu actually said:
NETANYAHU: I think anyone who is going to build a Palestinian state today will be freeing up space to give an attack area to radical Islam against Israel. This is the reality created here in recent years. Anyone who ignores this sticks his head in the sand. The left does this, burying its head in the sand again and again. We are realistic and understand…
NRG: If you are elected head of state, no Palestinian state will come to fruition?
NRG: Construction in Jerusalem and the West Bank will renew?
NETANYAHU: We are continuing all the time, but that’s not a question about additional building. There is a real threat that the government of the left will join the international community and do their bidding….
Netanyahu continued by arguing that the left would buy into the “international initiatives to return to the 1967 borders and divide Jerusalem.”
In other words, Netanyahu did not discount the possibility of a Palestinian state forever. He said that anyone who tries to build a Palestinian state “hayom” – “today” – would be giving territory to radical Islam. He even added that this was a reality created in recent years.
To read that as a wholesale rejection of a Palestinian state is to lie. Which is what Ha’aretz did. And the entire lazy and ridiculous world media followed. Netanyahu never flip-flopped, because Netanyahu never flipped.
And Netanyahu’s policy is the exact same as the policy of the man who created the Oslo Accords, Yitzchak Rabin, who said just one month before his assassination in 1995, “We view a permanent solution [involving] a Palestinian entity which is less than a state… We will not return to the June 4, 1967 lines… We committed ourselves before the Knesset not to uproot a single settlement in the framework of the interim agreement, and not to hinder building for natural growth… And first and foremost in our concerns is a united Jerusalem, as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty.”
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.