Iran is providing Syrian President Bashar Assad with both arms and personnel to
butcher his people, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in an interview
published Tuesday in the German daily Bild.
"I think what is happening in
Syria is awful, it is wholesale murder," Netanyahu said. "And you have to
understand who is supporting this brutality, this butchery – it is Iran and
Hezbollah. I mean supporting them physically. Killers supporting killers, giving
them weapons, personnel to actually do the killing. This is what we are facing:
Iran, which brutally murdered its people on the streets, Syria which has
perfected the technique of shelling its own civilian population with artillery."
Netanyahu, who has weighed his words on Syria very carefully since the uprising
began there last year, was careful, however, not to answer directly whether he
thought the West should intervene in Syria militarily.
"That’s a decision
for the leading powers who are now talking about it. The less I say as Prime
Minister of Israel, the better. The more I speak about it, I will be causing
damage to the people we want to help," he said.
Netanyahu bewailed in the
interview that despite all the international pressure, "the Iranian nuclear
program has not slowed down by one millimeter." Germany is a member of the P5+1,
along with the US, Russia, China, France and Britain, that is currently
negotiating with the Iranians over their nuclear program.
explained how a nuclear bomb works, saying that it is filled with explosive
material – "called fissile material" -- prepared from uranium enriched at a low
"Iran has that already," he said, explaining that the
process of filling the bomb is made much faster when the uranium is enriched to
a higher percentage.
"What they are being asked now to do is not stop
filling the canister, not to stop enrichment, not to take away the material,"
Netanyahu said, in a criticism of the P5+1's negotiating posture toward the
Iranians. "The Iranians were only asked to stop 20 percent enrichment of
uranium. That doesn’t stop their nuclear program in any way. It actually allows
them to continue their nuclear program."
Asked in the interview with the
friendliest paper in Germany toward Israel what he thinks about polling numbers
showing only 36% of Germans find Israel sympathetic, Netanyahu responded that
there was a "vast misperception of Israel in Germany and in Western European
society in general." Israel, he said, was "maligned day in, day out, and this
maligning filters into the public consciousness. That’s a general problem. But
it is particularly unfortunate with Germany because of the unique relationship
and the unique history."
Netanyahu praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel's
commitment to Israel's security, and said it was exemplified by "the recent sale
of another German submarine, an important adjunct to our national security."
Although Netanyahu did not refer to a Der Spiegel
report this week saying that
Israel had equipped German-supplied submarines with nuclear warheads giving
Israel a second strike capability," Netanyahu said the German submarines were
"very important" for Israel's security.
Germany has already supplied
Israel with 3 Dolphin-class submarines, with another three scheduled to be
delivered by 2017.