Following are excerpts from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's interview with Israel's Channel 10 News:
Question: Yesterday, in a speech before ambassadors, a minister in your Government attacked Government policy. He attacked you personally, presented Government policy as an empty vessel in the diplomatic sphere. How can the Foreign Minister repeatedly humiliate you in public?
Prime Minister Netanyahu: He did not humiliate me, he expressed his opinion. In the Israeli style of government, ministers always express their opinions, in this case Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz. They have different opinions. The binding opinion is that which is decided upon by the Government or that expressed by the Prime Minister. This is how it has been in every Government including the current one."
Question: The question is that in the end, if there is no sense that there is one boss in control, who sets a unified Government line, how do you succeed in maintaining such a Government?"
Prime Minister Netanyahu: "I have set very clear policy; I did this in my 14.6.09 Bar-Ilan University speech. There I said as follows: If the Palestinians recognize a Jewish State, if they shelve the idea of the Palestinian refugees' right of return, if they have a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state – I tell you here and now that I will go with this to the end and that no coalition consideration will stop me, and I have no doubt that a majority will support me."
Question: "Then perhaps Minister Liberman is correct when he says, 'Let us go for a long-range interim agreement and not a permanent agreement immediately, within a year, like you want?"
Prime Minister Netanyahu: "If we get into this discussion, we will likely hit a wall; a wall named Jerusalem, perhaps a wall named refugees. It could be that the result would be an interim agreement. It's possible. I do not rule this out, including in the talks that we have held. I said that it's possible. If we say this in advance, it is not certain they will come so easily. But it could be the result of a diplomatic process; I am not certain that it should be its primary goal."
Question: "Are you indicating a possible change in policy, which says that there will be additional phases, the transfer of additional areas to the Palestinians, as you have already done in the past?"
Prime Minister Netanyahu: "I am not going into details on this."
Question: "Yesterday, we saw the Mavi Marmara return to Istanbul amidst antagonistic calls of 'Death to Israel' and Foreign Minister Liberman, yesterday, called Erdogan and his Foreign Minister liars who need to apologize to Israel and not vice-versa. Do you agree with him on this issue?"
Prime Minister Netanyahu: "(…). Our recurring problem with Turkey is not this or that remark. First of all, we need to understand that they want an apology and, of course, we do not want to apologize. We are prepared to express regret as we expressed it over the loss of life. But what do we want? We want one thing. We want – first of all – to protect our soldiers and commanders. They are being accused of war crimes. They could be arrested worldwide. First of all, we want this to stop. And there should be Turkish recognition that Israel did not act maliciously and that IDF soldiers acted out of self-defense. We all saw that this is how they acted. Now, between Turkey's desire for an apology and our desire for recognition that IDF soldiers acted out of self-defense, and for the files against them to be closed, between these two poles, there is still no compromise formula. We are continuing to try, and I think that it is our interest to try to resolve this. I think that public remarks on this issue are not helpful."
Question: "What grade would you give to your Government after 90 weeks in office?"
Prime Minister Netanyahu: "Certainly a better one than I read and hear about from others. In this period, Israel has created 100,000 jobs in our economy, after it was in a severe crisis for more than two years. We have been accepted into the OECD. The Israeli economy is leading almost all Western economies."
Question: "You lowered taxes; in practice we haven't seen it. We have seen that wage-earners will receive some sort of supplement soon, but the burden, the negative tax – is heavy, mainly on the middle classes. We won't mention the indirect taxes that assault us from every side, employee cars, cellular phones, local taxes, etc. Water taxes; is his the lowering of taxes that you promised?"
Prime Minister Netanyahu: "In effect, the answer is yes. I compare the State of Israel to other Western countries and believe me there are many prime ministers and finance ministers would love to exchanges their problems for ours, also because we are managing things better. We are managing the economy very well. Why don't we hear about it? Because the Palestinians are unwilling to make peace; if the Palestinians are unwilling to make peace then the whole country is 'stuck'."
Question: "Let us discuss the Carmel wildfire. You heard the painful remarks of the father of Topaz Even-Chen and retired Commander Klein. They attacked you, in very harsh and painful words and you really haven't answered them and you really haven't found the time to perhaps go and talk with them. Why?"
Prime Minister Netanyahu: "First of all, factually, you are wrong. I met with them.
I called the families and I met with them, I am telling you this. I was in this situation; I come from a bereaved family. I don't know if, when I revisit the situation I was in, I don't think that it is necessary to get into a debate with them. In practice, I spoke with them. I know what they are going through, the degrees of hell, the hellish suffering that cannot be described. In such a situation, people can, and are entitled to, say anything. I met with both the Even-Chen and Klein families and believe me, I understand their pain very well. It is not that I understand, I am familiar with their pain."
Question: "Whoever goes to your residence cannot help but pass and see Noam and Aviva Shalit's tent. Our colleague Yaron London has an article in today's Yediot Ahronot, I don't know if you read it, that wants a kind of militant action, to adopt a different mindset, including the systematic elimination of senior leaders, including reducing the number of Hamas prisoners every day."
Question: "From the list."
Question: "That is, to try a different approach."
Prime Minister Netanyahu: "First of all, his approach is an interesting one, but I cannot say there are two possibilities here. One possibility is to try and reach an agreement. I thought that the agreement that Hamas is prepared to make would demand of us a very heavy price in Israeli lives. I want to bring Gilad Shalit back and I am prepared to go far in order to do so. But I am not prepared to release hundreds of murderers into Judea and Samaria because they will reach not Ariel, but Tel Aviv.
We are working for Gilad Shalit today and every day. We are involved in various actions, the goal of which is to create a solution. Either we will reach an agreement that we can live with, live with and die with, or we will reach other solutions."