Netanyahu on Australia cafe siege: International Islamic terror does not know borders

PM says Israel reserved “freedom of action” to repel both the Palestinian and French proposals expected to be brought to the United Nations Security Council.

December 15, 2014 21:01
3 minute read.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu watches IDF maneuvers from an army base near Beersheba. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Rome - Emerging from a a three-hour meeting in Rome with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu' s first comments related to the siege on the cafe in Sydney Australia that ended shortly before.

Netanyahu sent  his condolences to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and the Australian people.

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He said that International Islamic terror does not know borders, and the struggle against it needs to be global.

Three people died after the hostage drama in Sydney ended in heavy gunfire as security forces stormed the building.

The suspect was identified as Man Haron Monis, an Iranian refugee and self-styled sheikh. During the siege, hostages had been forced to display an Islamic flag, igniting fears of a jihadist attack.

Netanyahu then discussed the focus of his meeting with Kerry saying that Israel will “do everything possible” to make sure that the UN Security Council does not impose a solution on Israel on the Palestinian issue.

Netanyahu said that Israel reserved “freedom of action” to repel both the Palestinian and French proposals expected to be brought to the United Nations Security Council in the near future, but would provide no details about what steps Israel might take in response.

Asked if he left Rome feeling more or less confident that the US would use its veto in the Security Council to prevent the acceptance of a resolution detrimental to Israel, Netanyahu said that he was leaving Rome “Like a person confident that what he had to say was heard.”

Netanyahu said that Israel’s expectation was that the US will stick by its position over the last 47 years, since UN Security Council Resolution 242 following the Six Day War, that any solution to the conflict will come through negotiations, and not be imposed from the outside.

“We will not accept diktats on this,” Netanyahu said, “and we see no reason for the US to change their position.”

Netanyahu said that Kerry did not condition a US veto on any particular action. Netanyahu said that Kerry understands well the deterioration in the situation that the acceptance of the Palestinian resolution could lead to.

The Palestinians have said that they will bring to the Security Council as early as Wednesday their call for a full Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines within two or three years.

Netanyahu, who very rarely says what interlocutors in his conversations tell him, would not say whether he received a commitment from Kerry that the US will use their veto.

One senior diplomatic official said that the French proposal, calling for the two sides to conclude negotiations leading to a state within two years, but not calling on the Palestinians to take steps important to Israel -- such as recognizing it as a Jewish state-- was also very problematic from an Israeli perspective.

Netanyahu spoke to French President Francois Hollande some 10 days ago and, according to senior diplomatic officals, made clear Israel’s strong opposition to the process they were leading.  The step is being spearheaded by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

Regarding the Palestinian threat to take Israel to the International Criminal Court if their resolution is not accepted by the Security Council, one official said that this is a “field that more than one side can play on,” and that Israel can -- and will -- retaliate.  He did not provide any specifics.

Netanyahu characterized his meeting with Kerry as "serious and deep," that dealt with a number of issues in addition to the Palestinian track, including Iran, Syria and the Islamic State.

Netanyahu said he told Kerry that efforts by the Palestinians and some countries in the region to impose a solution on Israel will lead to a deterioration in the situation, and endanger Israel.  "Therefore we will oppose this forcefully."

Reuters contributed to this report.

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