Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set off for London Sunday afternoon saying that setting clear boundaries to Iranian aggression will be the first of many topics he will discuss with British Prime Minister Theresa May.
Boarding the plane for his one day visit to London, where he will meet both May and her Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson for the first time since they took office over the summer, Netanyahu said that “we are in a period of diplomatic opportunities, and also challenges.”
The opportunities, he said, are a result of a new administration in Washington, and a new government in London.
Netanyahu, who will also be meeting US President Donald Trump for the first time next week, said he intends to talk to both May and Trump about strengthening their bilateral relationships with Israel, as well as strengthening a trilateral US-British-Israel axis.
“The challenges stem from the fact that the Iranians also understand what I just said, and are trying to test the limits with extraordinary aggressiveness, brazenness and defiance,” Netanyahu said. “I think the most important thing right now is that countries, led by the US, and with Israel and Britain, stand together against Iranian aggression and set clear boundaries.”
Asked about whether the controversial settlements regulation law will, as planned, come to the Knesset for a vote on Monday, Netanyahu – clearly referring to Bayit Yehudi without mentioning the rival right wing party’s name – said that he has heard the “fake” ultimatums, but is unmoved by them.
Bayit Yehudi leaders have threatened to topple the government if the bill retroactively legalizing a number of settlement outposts does not pass.
In a reference to Bayit Yehudi leaders, Netanyahu said there are people who are busy carrying on futile arguments in the press and the social media.
“I am busy running the country, and when I run the country, I think about the whole set of national interests, and act only according to that,” he said.
Earlier in the day Netanyahu said he wanted to discuss with US ambassador Ron Dermer the possibility of coordinating with the US administration when to bring the matter for a vote. Senior government officials have spoken a great deal over the last few weeks of making sure not to do anything that would surprise the Trump government.