Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In an indication of the degree to which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is concerned about the direction the world’s negotiations with Iran are going, he used the naming of an entrance into Jerusalem on Sunday to warn of the danger of the Islamic Republic becoming a nuclear threshold state.
“We are standing before the danger of an agreement [between the world powers and Iran] that will leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state, with thousands of centrifuges through which Iran can manufacture the material for a nuclear bomb within a short period of time,” he said at the naming of Road No. 9 into Jerusalem near Motza after former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir.
“This is a threat to the entire world, first and foremost to Israel, and it is much worse than the threat of Islamic State,” he said.
His comments come against the backdrop of reports reaching Jerusalem that the US was willing to accept an agreement with Iran that – according to Channel 2 – would allow it to retain some 5,000 centrifuges.
“There is concern in Jerusalem because we have not seen any evidence of the Iranians willing to show genuine flexibility, and we are concerned that in the framework of cosmetic concessions they are willing to make, they will retain the ability to become a nuclear threshold state,” one government official said.
Netanyahu, who served under Shamir as Israel’s ambassador to the UN and as deputy foreign minister, said that the seventh prime minister – who died in 2012 – was a realist who was not taken in by illusions and false hopes.
Regarding Jerusalem, Netanyahu said Israel would fight against those trying to redivide the capital. His comments came two days after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on Palestinians to prevent Jews from going up to and “desecrating” the Temple Mount.
Netanyahu said Shamir stressed at every opportunity the need to preserve the unity of Jerusalem, “He stood by our natural right to build and be built in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said. “Is it conceivable, he asked, that a Jew cannot establish his home in the capital of Israel. Do we have to be forbidden to build the capital of Israel, the inheritance of our forefathers? So we build and continue to build, for Jews and Arabs and members of other religions alike – for all its inhabitants.”
Netanyahu said that even though there are those who want to divide the city again, “to rebuild the walls in its heart,” Israel will not allow this and will fight against it “with an iron fist.”
The prime minister related to the uptick in violence in Jerusalem, saying that it was taking place almost exclusively in the eastern part of the city. “But that is part of the city, and it is our city,” he said. “We are not willing to tolerate the throwing of rocks in the capital of Israel, and will use all the means at our disposal to prevent it.”