Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show in this photograph received via the BBC in London, Britain November 5, 2017..
(photo credit: JEFF OVERS/BBC/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
Iran has taken over Lebanon, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday morning, issuing a warning about Tehran’s growing regional dominance before ending a five-day trip to London.
Netanyahu was in Britain to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, but made use of the trip to persuade the British government to take steps to halt Iranian aggression.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri's Saturday resignation — during which he said he fears an assassination attempt — and his warning about Iran’s inference in his country appeared to underscore the message Netanyahu delivered in meetings he held with British Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
“You just heard the resigning prime minister of Lebanon, Hariri, say Hezbollah took over, which means that Iran took over,” Netanyahu said in an interview with the BBC Sunday morning.
“This is a wake up call for everyone. It says what the Middle East is really experiencing, it is experiencing the attempt of Iran to conquer the Middle East, to dominate and subjugate it,” Netanyahu said.
“When Israelis and the Arabs, all the Arabs and the Israelis, agree on one thing, people should pay attention. We should stop this Iranian take over,” Netanyahu said.
Iran is also operating in Syria and wants to colonize it, Netanyahu said, vowing that Israel would not let this happen.
“They want to bring their airfare there. They want to bring Shi'ite and Iranian forces next to Israel, we will not let that happen. We will resist it,” he said.
Netanyahu, however, sidestepped the BBC question of whether Israel was prepared to go to war over this issue.
In the same interview, he explained, the best way to move forward in the peace process is for the Palestinians to have a demilitarized state.
“They should have all the powers to govern themselves and none of the power to threaten us,” Netanyahu said.
“If its not demilitarized then it becomes a platform to continue the war against the one Jewish state,” he said.
He continued to vow that he would not uproot West Bank settlements stating: “the idea that Jews cannot live in Judea is crazy.”
The settlements, Netanyahu said, are a side issue. The real issue is the Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish right to a homeland.