A military strike on Iran and neutralizing its nuclear threat would benefit the
Arab states in the Middle East and ease tension throughout the region, Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in an interview published Tuesday in the French
Magazine Paris Match.
“Five minutes after [an attack], contrary to what
the skeptics say, I think a feeling of relief would spread across the region,”
said Netanyahu, who has been calling for the US and the international community
to draw a clear “red line” beyond which Iran would not be allowed to pass in
pursuit of nuclear capability.
“Iran is not popular in the Arab world,
far from it, and some governments in the region, as well as their citizens, have
understood that a nuclear-armed Iran would be dangerous for them, not just for
Israel,” he said.
The interview appeared on the eve of Netanyahu’s
scheduled visit to France on Wednesday where, in addition to meeting France’s
leaders in Paris, he will also be traveling to Toulouse to participate in a
memorial service at the Jewish school where a terrorist in March murdered a
rabbi and three school children.
This will be Netanyahu’s fourth visit to
France, and his 33rd trip abroad since taking office in 2009. The only countries
he has visited more times than France during his current term in office are the
US (9 visits) and Egypt (6 trips).
During his two-day visit to France,
Netanyahu is scheduled to meet French President François Hollande, Prime
Minister Jean- Marc Ayrault and Foreign Minister Laurent
Netanyahu will travel to Toulouse with Hollande.
the Paris Match interview whether he was concerned that the terrorist
responsible for the murders in Toulouse explained his act by saying that “the
Jews have our brothers and sisters in Palestine,” the prime minister responded
that “nothing can justify the massacre of children. This is pure
“Any attempt to explain, justify or excuse such behavior is
absurd,” Netanyahu said. “All civilized people must unite in the battle against
terrorism and start by unanimously condemning it. I am going to Toulouse to
demonstrate my solidarity with the victims of terror, Jewish and non-Jewish, and
call for action against terrorism and those countries that support
This will be Netanyahu’s first serious meeting with Hollande, whom
he met once only briefly in 2003.
The two have, however, held a number of
telephone calls since Hollande defeated Nicolas Sarkozy in French elections
earlier this year. Netanyahu said he will be looking to discuss “concrete steps
to intensify the sanctions against Iran,” as well as the “convulsions in the
region” and terrorism.
“I think we must do more together to fight
terrorism,” he said. “One mustn’t reduce this to a matter of religion. This is a
fight between moderates that want modernity and others, radicals, who by force
would like to force values on us and take us back to past times that were more
Netanyahu underlined in the interview what is already becoming
a theme in his re-election campaign, that although he is perceived as a “hawk,”
Israel has not gone to war once during the seven years over two terms that he
has served in office.
“Your enemies keep away when they know that you
won’t hesitate one minute to defend yourself,” he told the magazine. “That is
how I have been able to preserve the peace so far. I hope that I will one day
have the opportunity to seal the peace.”
Reuters contributed to this