Amb. Ron Dermer addresses rift between Obama and Netanyahu

Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. speaks out on 'Hannity'


This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 19, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, 'HANNITY': And welcome to 'Hannity.' So President Obama finally picked up the phone late in Israel time this afternoon and he finally called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, congratulating him on winning Tuesday's election.

Earlier today, before that phone call, the prime minister joined me on my radio program. And I asked, Why the delay?


HANNITY: When the president of Iran was recently elected, he got a phone call. Vladimir Putin got a phone call. Turkey's president got a phone call. Mohamed Morsi, a former head of the Muslim Brotherhood who once referred to Jews as descendants of apes and pigs, he got a phone call from Obama. The new leader sharing power in Afghanistan got a phone call, and the Saudi king, the new heir, got a phone call.

But you have yet to receive a phone call from the president. That's a little shocking to me.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Well, I received a phone call from John Kerry, and I'm sure that a phone call from the president very soon.


HANNITY: All right, joining us now is Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer. All right, so late Israel time, the prime minister finally got that phone call in. What can you tell us about it?


DERMER: Well, I haven't had a chance to speak to the prime minister since then, but I'm sure he congratulated the prime minister on his victory. And I know that the prime minister surely said to the president that he looks forward to working together to meet the enormous challenges that both the United States and Israel face.

You know, Israel believes we have no greater friend and ally in the world than the United States, and we believe strongly that the United States has no greater friend and ally in the Middle East and maybe around the world than the state of Israel. So we look forward to working together as we move forward.

HANNITY: I'm not sure I agree with that characterization. And I understand your position as an ambassador, you don't want to get into any conflict. The big story in the United States today was the idea that the United States would use the United Nations and go against Israeli policy.

This has to do with the prime minister's words, which I think have been taken out of context. The prime minister had stated that he thinks that anyone who's going to establish a Palestinian state today -- he was talking about the conditions on the ground today.

DERMER: That's right.

HANNITY: People interpreted that as him being against a two-state solution. Is that interpretation correct or incorrect?

DERMER: No, it's wrong. What you said is correct. The prime minister gave a speech at Bar Elan University six years ago. He laid out his vision for peace. He said he wants to see a demilitarized...

HANNITY: In 2009, right.

DERMER: In 2009. He wants to see a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state of Israel. In this interview, a statement that he made which has been totally taken into context, which actually wasn't new -- he's said it for a number of months. He actually said it from the time that President Abbas, the leader of the Palestinians, reached out and forged a pact with a terror organization called Hamas.

He said at the time, Look, I cannot have peace talks if we don't have a partner who's actually committed to peace. And what you see, Sean, is what happened in recent years is, is Israel withdrew from territory. That territory was not used to promote peace. It was used to actually create a terror base for attacks against Israel and thousands of rockets were fired on Israel.

We left Lebanon in 2000. We didn't get peace from Lebanon. We got an Iranian terror base on our northern border.

HANNITY: All right...

DERMER: We left Gaza in 2005...

HANNITY: So look...

DERMER: ... we didn't get peace. We got an Iranian terror base there. And what the prime minister is saying is today, when the Palestinians are united with Hamas, given the rise of militant Islam throughout the Middle East, today Israel cannot afford to withdraw. But he remains as committed as ever to a vision of two states with two peoples. The question is, what can you implement today?

HANNITY: All right. Well said. Appreciate it. Thank you, Ambassador Dermer.

DERMER: Thank you.

HANNITY: Thank you so much.

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