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Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Photo: Haggai Dekel
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Photo: Haggai Dekel
 
 

 

Olmert slams PM: We have declared war on US

In special conference on Geneva agreement, former PM slams Netanyahu over his public reaction to the nuclear deal with Iran, asking rhetorically: 'Who will be our savior, Obama or Putin?' Former MI chief says deal bad, but stress fact it is preliminary

Attila Somfalvi
Published: 12.01.13, 19:34 / Israel News

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert addressed the Geneva agreement between world powers and Iran, and slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who according to him has declared war on the American administration

 

"We have declared war on the US... Will the savior in the Iranian matter be Putin, or Obama?" the former prime minister rhetorically asked, adding "We need to go against the American president? To ask questions, to argue, in closed door decisions, of course," hinting critisim at Netanyahu's public statements in regards to the Iranian deal.

 

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Speaking at a special conference on the Geneva agreement held at the Institute for National Security Studies together with former Military Intelligence Chief (res.) Major General Amos Yadlin and MK Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud ), Olmeret added that "Until 2009 we managed in silence, after that our policy changed to screams and threats and financial outlays of more than NIS 10 billion ($2.83 billion).

 

Ehud Olmert at the INSS (Photo: Hagai Dekel)
Ehud Olmert at the INSS (Photo: Hagai Dekel)

 

According to Olmert, Israel should not lead talks with Iran. "Israel needs to be a partner in this process, but it cannot and should not lead this international struggle.

 

"During the last ten years the government has been dealing with this more and more. Two government, the one headed by Ariel Sharon and the one headed by myself, clearly stated Israel's position: Israel will not and cannot accept a nuclear Iran, this is an existential threat on our country."

 

"If we had used those warnings in the proper way, through the confidential backchannels which we had built for decades with the American administration, we would have made it easier for that administration to make the decisions we wanted."

 

MK Tzachi Hanegbi addressed the INSS (Photo: Hagai Dekel)
MK Tzachi Hanegbi addressed the INSS (Photo: Hagai Dekel)
 

 

However, "In no way did we want the diplomatic discussions and contacts to become a matter of public disagreements between us and our allies. I never raised the idea, neither did my predecessor, of picking a fight with Israel's number one ally and to incite the American congress against the president – a thing which is without precedent, and its dangers and damages are larger than we can estimate."

 

On a state visit to Rome, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemingly responded to Olmert's comments: "Unlike others, when I see vital Israeli security interests in danger – I won't shut up. It's very easy to be quiet and to bow your head, but I have obligations to the security of my people and the future of my State."

 

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said that "Olmert's comments do little to improve Israel's security, and it would have been more appropriate that they would have not been said. With things like security it is better to present a unified front," Bennett said.

 

Head of the INSS and the former Military Intelligence Chief (res.) Major General Amos Yadlin also commented on the temporary agreement reached with Iran, and said that "Iran is one breakthrough away from the bomb. It's sad, but it's the fact."

 

However, he noted that "we must remember that this is only an initial agreement, not a final one. The fact that Iran is on the threshold of nuclear capabilities is not the result of this agreement, but because the Iranians were hard at work on these capabilities for many years and no one has been able to stop them."

 

'Moral surrender'

Regarding the public debate over the agreement and a nuclear Iran, Yadlin said "during the last three years has moved to the forefront of the public debate. This is the result of the initiative of Israel's leaders. But the majority of the public is still awkward and without the proper tools to formulate an educated opinion."

 

MK Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) addressed the nuclear deal at saying "The West agreed that the final agreement will allow Iran to enrich uranium in her facilities. If this is not a moral defeat, what is a moral defeat? If this isn't surrender, what is surrender? The time frame that Iran needs to get a nuclear weapon is no longer than a few months."

 

According to Hanegbi, "The Israeli position needs to be sharper. We must demand the removal of all of the enriched uranium. If Israel stutters or flatters, all the other voices will weaken as well. Netanyahu clarified that Israel is not party to the deal that was reached. We are the first who want a diplomatic agreement."

 

 

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