WASHINGTON - Meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in September, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would respond "strongly" to any effort by Iran to establish an offensive corridor on Syria's border with the Golan Heights despite Russian military operations nearby, he said on Monday night.
Speaking to the conservative American Enterprise Institute, which honored him at a black tie gala with its highest award, Netanyahu said that Israel's primary goal is to prioritize its defense threats, and to defeat or mitigate them accordingly. Those begin with Iran, which— according to the premier, in conversation with the institute's Danielle Pletka— is creating new proxies in both hemispheres on a bimonthly basis."Giving Israel the tools" to defend itself, Netanyahu told the gala of two thousand at the city's National Building Museum, requires a drop in the bucket in US aid compared to the cost of Washington's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Netanyahu met with Obama earlier on Monday and asked for an increase in US defense aid to Israel from $3 billion to $5 billion a year between 2017 and 2027."I bet on this alliance," Netanyahu told AEI. "I think it's pivotal for the future of our world."The conservation with Pletka showed the convergence of opinion Netanyahu has found with American conservatives— not just on foreign relations, but on economic policy. Repeatedly, Netanyahu noted his fiscal conservatism as prime minister of Israel.Unprompted, Netanyahu raised the issue of an elusive peace with the Palestinians. The failure to secure a two-state solution, he said, is not the result of settlement activity, but of a "persistent refusal to accept [Israel] in any boundary."The Arab world, he contends, is intent on turning "the result of the conflict into its cause.""Are you willing to make the deal?," he asked at the end of his talk. "Are you willing to recognize the Jewish state?""We will have peace," he concluded, "when they accord us with what they ask us to accord them."
Netanayhu: "Give Israel the tools" to defend itself