PM Netanyahu at cabinet meeting 370 (R).
(photo credit: Pool / Emil Zalman / Haaretz)
Israel needs to construct a border fence with Syria on the Golan Heights because
the Syrian army has moved away from the frontier, and global jihad elements have
moved into the area in its place, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on
Netanyahu’s comments came at the weekly cabinet meeting where he
announced that the completion of the 230-km. fence along the Egyptian border
erected in just over two years has completely stemmed the tide of illegal
migration into Israel from Sinai.
The prime minister said he issued a
directive not to disband the Defense Ministry staff responsible for the
construction of the fence, and to continue building security barriers on all of
Israel’s other frontiers, “first and foremost on our border with
Israel intended to build a border fence along the frontier with
Syria on the Golan Heights, he said. “We know that today on the other side of
the border with Syria the Syrian army has moved away, and in its place global
jihad elements have moved in.”
The prime minister said Israel needed to
defend the North both from illegal infiltration and from terrorist elements.
Netanyahu also said that the Syrian regime was “very unstable,” and that Syria’s
chemical weapons were concerning Israel. Israel was coordinating its
intelligence and assessments with the US “and others,” with the objective being
to “prepare for any eventuality and possibility that could develop there,” he
Before the cabinet meeting, the prime minister, in separate early
morning interviews with Israel Radio and Army Radio, declined to deal head-on
with the withering criticism from former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency)
director Yuval Diskin that appeared spread over six pages of Yediot Aharonot on
Friday, saying only that his critics needed to decide whether to blast him for
being infused with a messianic complex, as Diskin claimed, or acting primarily
out of self–interest, something else Diskin charged.
“Those who attack me
should decide what tack they want to take,” he told Israel Radio, since the two
tendencies – a messianic complex and pure self-interest – are
Netanyahu said the voters were “smart enough” not to be
swayed by Diskin’s words, aware that under the current government the country’s
security has been strengthened, an international coalition was mobilized against
Iran, Operation Pillar of Defense severely damaged Hamas, and the security fence
in the South was built.
The prime minister said that if he wins another
term, preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons would be the main priority.
He listed other objectives as having Iron Dome anti-rocket batteries provide
cover for the entire country, building a security fence – similar to the one
just completed in the South – on each of Israel’s borders, tending to the
economy, creating more jobs, and bringing down the price of housing.
increased talks of renewed talks between Iran and the world powers – the US,
Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s
position that Iran must stop all uranium enrichment, export all of its enriched
uranium, and close the underground enrichment facility at Fordow.
stance is at odds with what is believed to be the US position: namely, that the
Iranians could be allowed to enrich uranium for civilian
Regarding the diplomatic process with the Palestinians,
Netanyahu dismissed Diskin’s criticism that he has not done enough to push that
process forward, saying it was Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who
has avoided negotiations.
Netanyahu said any agreement must include a
Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, a declaration of an end to
the conflict, and a demilitarized Palestinian state. He clarified that these
terms would be the outcome of negotiations, and were not preconditions to
entering into negotiations.
It is the Palestinians, not Israel, that has
put preconditions on the talks, he said.
Responding to criticism by Yair
Shamir, No. 4 on the joint Likud- Yisrael Beytenu Knesset candidates list, that
he zigzags, Netanyahu said that he learned from his own father that there are
eternal values – protecting the Jewish people, commitment to the land and
ensuring the Jew’s future on it – but “from time to time you see a changing
diplomatic situation, and in that situation you work on behalf of those
permanent values, but act according to what you see [at the time] on the