PM: Iran, Syria are major ME issues, not settlements

In final cabinet meeting before elections, Netanyahu says he told visiting US senators: "History will not forgive those who allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons."

January 20, 2013 21:59
1 minute read.
PM Netanyahu at cabinet meeting

PM Netanyahu at cabinet meeting 370 (R). (photo credit: Pool / Emil Zalman / Haaretz)

The problem in the Middle East is not building more homes in a settlement like Ariel, but rather Iran, Syria, and the rising tide of Islamic extremism, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at Sunday’s cabinet meeting, the last before Tuesday’s elections.

Netanyahu opened up the meeting – which did not deal with any burning diplomatic or political issues, but rather with a Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael- Jewish National Fund briefing before Tu Bishvat, a Justice Ministry briefing on its projects and operations over the last four years and an Education Ministry briefing on school registration zones – by discussing a meeting he held Saturday night with a bipartisan delegation of US senators led by John McCain (R-Arizona).

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“I told them that the problem is not building in Ariel and it is not building in Jerusalem,” he said.

“The problem in the Middle East is Iran’s attempt to build nuclear weapons, and the chemical weapons in Syria and the Islamic extremism that is spreading in Africa and threatening to inundate the entire region.

I told them that history will not forgive those who allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons. This was, and remains, the main mission facing not only myself and the State of Israel, but the US as well.”

The Senate delegation, which also included Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), Richard Blumenthal (DConnecticut), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) and Chris Coons (DDelaware), arrived after visiting Egypt, and said they raised with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi his taped anti-Semitic tirade in which he called Jews the descendants of apes and pigs, and said that all of Israel is Palestine.

At the outset of the cabinet meeting, Netanyahu – who during the current election campaign, has touted the construction of the 230-km. long border fence with Egypt in the South as one of his government’s main achievements – said that on Saturday he was told that “seven infiltrators” reached the fence in December, and none of them made their way to Israel’s cities. “This is one of the most important things we have done in order to safeguard the State of Israel,” he said.

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