PM: No plan to strike Syria

Netanyahu calls for Likud to postpone internal party elections.

Netanyahu looking over shoulder 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Netanyahu looking over shoulder 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has strenuously denied that Israel is planning an attack on Syria.
“There is no truth to the suggestion alleging Israel is planning a move against Syria, Netanyahu said during a Likud faction meeting at the Knesset on Monday afternoon.
Syrian officials have recently suggested that Israeli accusations that Damascus suppliedScud missiles to Hizbullah were intended to ramp up tensions in theregion and may be indicative of an upcoming Israeli offensive. Netanyahu wrote off the idea, saying it was an attempt by Iran to distract international public opinion from the intended sanctions against it.
Netanyahu went on to say that Iran was continuing with its nuclear weapons pursuit, and that while an agreement on sanctions was coming together, the measures would not be decided on within the coming month.
“I hope that sanctions on the export of oil from Iran, and the import of refined petroleum into Iran are put in place," said the prime minister. "This would constitute a real problem for the Iranian regime and cause them to consider whether it’s worthwhile to continue with their nuclear plan."
Adding that he was fairly certain such a sanctions scheme would not pass the UN Security Council, Netanyahu said that the US could effectively pursue it on its own, and asserted that other prominent nations were certain to join it.
In light of the challenges faced by Israel, Netanyahu called on all Likud members to come and vote for the change he proposed to the Likud’s constitution that would postpone internal Likud elections, which would necessarily heighten tensions within the ruling party.
MK grills Netanyahu on rumored offer to Abbas
Later in the faction meeting, MK Tzipi Hotovely asked Netanyahu about the veracity of rumors regarding a potential interim status deal offered to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
According to Hotovely, Netanyahu said, “There were no understandings, decisions or agreements regarding any such deal. The information that had been published was erroneous.”
Hotovely went on to ask about construction in Jerusalem, and said the prime minister answered that “building in Jerusalem will continue and we will continue to stand on our essential principles. Jerusalem is a national interest, and we will continue both planning and building in Jerusalem.”
Hotoveli is considered to be one of the most right-leaning Likud MKs. And her questions on issues close to the heart of many of her Likud supporters held additional weight in light of the upcoming Likud Central Committee vote on Thursday.