Labor Party MK Binyamin Ben Eliezer said that while Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is correct in his opposition to the Western powers’ interim nuclear agreement with Iran, he disagrees with his strategy of “sparring with Washington.”
The former defense minister told Israel Radio that he applauds the premier for “putting the Iranian issue on the international agenda.”
Conversely, Netanyahu should remember that “the US is Israel’s most important ally, and ties with it should not be harmed,” Ben Eliezer told Israel Radio.
“There needs to be a change in the way in which the agreement is opposed,” the veteran Labor MK said, calling on Netanyahu aides to negotiate quietly with the White House in a bid to influence the final-status deal that is being discussed with Iran.
Netanyahu’s criticism of the world powers’ interim agreement with Iran went from warning the accord would lead to an unraveling of the sanctions regime, to stating in Rome on Monday that this is already happening.
“There appears to be general relaxation of sanctions, and a rush to accommodate Iran, and to make it legitimate as if Iran has changed anything of its actual policies,” Netanyahu said after meeting Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta.
Netanyahu continued speaking out against the agreement even as he faced criticism of this tactic from home and as US Secretary of State John Kerry, a champion of the deal, was set to arrive on Wednesday for a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
If the sanctions regime against Iran collapses, Netanyahu said, that would signal the end of chances to peacefully stop Iran’s nuclear program. And the program, he stressed, will be stopped.
Netanyahu flew home Monday evening after two days in Rome, which included a meeting with Pope Francis and an annual government- to-government meeting, along with five other Israeli ministers, with their Italian counterparts.
Herb Keinon and Eric J. Lyman contributed to this report.