" Sorry, Candy. Whoa."
That was the sound of Candy Crowley about to be vigorously schooled by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on CNN's State of the Union. As if he were a teacher attempting to straighten out an errant student with the facts, Netayahu added, " No, Candy. No, no. I'm sorry. I heard that. I hear people write that up, but, in fact, it's the very opposite." Chastened student Crowley finally corrected corrected herself. If only more guests on her show were as strenuous in correcting Crowley. [See video below.]
CANDY CROWLEY: One of the criticisms, Mr. Prime Minister, has been that, prior to this, when you were dealing with Abbas, you had said, look, I don't know who I'm supposed to negotiate with. There's Hamas and then there's Abbas and Fatah.
So, now there's a unity government, and you still don't want to talk to them. So, there's criticism here that this was an excuse for you to walk away.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Sorry, Candy. Whoa.
CROWLEY: Go ahead.
NETANYAHU: No, Candy. No, no. I'm sorry.
I heard that. I hear people write that up, but, in fact, it's the very opposite. I said right from the start, I said, look, I could wait until President Abbas recognizes -- represents the entire Palestinian people. But, in this case, we will wait until eternity, and we won't have peace.
So, I chose deliberately, openly, specifically, and explicitly to negotiate with that part of the Palestinian people that said it was willing to make peace with Israel. I said, we're not going to try to include the other part that seeks our extermination. And that's what I did.
I have been very consistent on this. Now that he's joined them, I say this. Look, unity for peace is good. Unity with Hamas that seeks to exterminate Israel, the opposite of peace, is bad. I have always been consistent on this.
I negotiate with those who are willing to make peace with my country. I will not negotiate with those who seek to exterminate peace with my country, whether they sit in the front office or the back office. That's not where I'm going to go.
Student Crowley appears to have learned her lesson as she provides another summation that does not put incorrect words into Netanyahu's mouth which meets the approval of the teacher:
CROWLEY: So, as I understand you, what you're saying is: First, for me to come back to the table in any way, shape or form, Hamas or a representative -- a top representative of Hamas would have to renounce violence and recognize Israel, or Abbas will have to not have a unity government.
Is that how I read you?
NETANYAHU: I think that's a fair -- that's a fair summation.
Either Hamas disavows the destruction of Israel and embraces peace and denounces terror, or President Abbas renounces Hamas. If one of those things happens, then we can get back to the peace negotiations. I hope that he renounces Hamas. I hope that he gets back to the peace table, as I have just said.
It was one of the best schoolings of Candy Crowley since her smackdown by Ted Cruz last October.