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AN ISRAELI soldier stands next to the Golan border with Syria. Iran’s encroachments into Syria has led to increased tensions..(Photo by: REUTERS)
PM: Putin knows that Israel acting 'like any country would' in Syria
By EYTAN HALON,HERB KEINON
06/08/2018
Netanyahu asserted that he did not care about criticism regarding his insistence that Israel maintain security control in “the tiny area” from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
Russian President Vladimir Putin understands that Israel is doing in Syria “what any country would do when faced with a foe out to destroy it,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in London on Thursday regarding Israeli actions in Syria against Iranian targets.

Speaking at the Policy Exchange think tank on the final day of his four-day European tour, Netanyahu said that he has told Putin during their various meetings over the years that Israel has “the legitimate right to defend ourselves against the Iranian regime that seeks to obliterate us, so if they move their weapons to our border to attack us, we will take preventative action.”

When asked if Putin was turning a blind eye to Israel’s action, Netanyahu replied: “They can see very well what we are doing.”

The prime minister said that the main focus of his talks in Berlin, France and London this week was not on trying to convince those countries to leave the Iranian nuclear deal, which he said would collapse on its own under the weight of US economic sanctions, but rather about reversing Iran’s aggression in the Middle East and removing Iranian forces and influence from all of Syria.

“I found considerable agreement from all three countries,” said Netanyahu, adding that he would not sit idly by, waiting for Iran to stockpile weapons in Syria in order to attack Israel.

“I think if we have learned anything from history, you don’t accommodate an aggressive regime taking territory and building up armaments to destroy you,” he said.

“Bad things should be opposed at their beginnings, not after they become horrendously dangerous,” Netanyahu said.

Turning to Gaza, Netanyahu defended Israel’s conduct against rioters on the Israel-Gaza border in recent weeks, arguing that no country in the world has developed any non-lethal alternative against protesters seeking to cause fatalities.

“We tried tear gas [and] all sorts of other devices, and none have worked against this type of tactic,” Netanyahu said.

“Hamas’s goal was to have as many casualties; our goal was to minimize casualties and avoid fatalities,” Netanyahu explained, stating that he had instructed technological experts to develop a new method of riot dispersal that would avoid loss of life.

“When I talk with European leaders, I always say ‘What would you do?’ The last thing we want is any violence or casualties. No country in the world [has offered an alternative] – I spoke to every country you can imagine.”

Asked directly whether he still supported a two-state solution, Netanyahu said – referring to his expression of support for two states during a 2009 speech at Bar- Ilan University – “I haven’t changed my view.”

The prime minister said his view could be summed up simply: “The Palestinians should have all of the power to govern themselves and none of the power to threaten us.”

Netanyahu asserted that he did not care about criticism regarding his insistence that Israel maintain security control in “the tiny area” from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, should a peace agreement be concluded with the Palestinians.

“If that earns me a bad editorial in an unnamed British newspaper, I don’t care. I take care of the survival of the State of Israel,” he said, adding that Israel’s survival is necessary for the well-being and stability of the Middle East.
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