(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz attacked the US’s position with respect to Iran and the West Bank in a short tape of a closed-door meeting that was aired on Sunday morning on Army Radio.
“Someone has to explain to the Americans that after what happened in Gaza, we are not planning to commit suicide here. We will not allow what happened in Gaza to be repeated in Judea and Samaria,” Steinitz (Likud) said.
With respect to the ongoing US efforts along with five other world powers to reach an agreement with Iran to halt its nuclear program, Steinitz said that the document so far did not bode well.
“It won’t be a good agreement.
We are doing our best to make sure it’s not a catastrophe,” he said.
Later in the day Steinitz emphasized to Army Radio the importance of US-Israeli ties.
He explained that he spoke about this at that same closeddoor meeting.
“At the beginning of my remarks I emphasized the need to preserve good relations with the US and to express our gratitude for American support in the security and diplomatic spheres and for the dialogue on Iran,” Steinitz said.
The statements aired earlier in the day on Army Radio were taken slightly out of contest, Steinitz said.
The strategic affairs minister said that he has been publicly vocal about his opinions, particularly his concern that the US would reach a deal with Iran that would enable it to become a nuclear threshold state.
He has also spoken of his worry that Hamas could extend its control of Gaza to the West Bank.
What surprised him about the Army Radio tape of his statements was not the words but the characterization that his comments supported a negative view of the US.
Those opinions, Steinitz said, do not reflect any hostility or animosity toward the US.
“I think the US is the most important international relationship that we have. We have to respect the Americans, even when we have debates and disagreements. We must explain our opinions but do so with respect and appreciation to our friend [the US]. That is how we should treat them, and that is how they should treat us,” Steinitz said