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PM Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky

Netanyahu says Iran hasn't crossed 'red-line'

PM answers ex-Intelligence chief's claim that line set in UN speech has been crossed, says there's still time, 'but Iran is approaching it rapidly'; PM supports referendum on future peace deals

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed former Military Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin's claim that Iran has already crossed the red-line and obtained enough fissionable material for a nuclear bomb.

 

"Iran has yet to cross the red-line I drew in the United Nations but it is rapidly approaching it," Netanyahu said at his faction's meeting in the Knesset on Monday.

 

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Last week Yadlin said that "for all practical purposes, Iran has crossed Israel's new red-line."


נתניהו מסמן את הקו האדום בספטמבר באו"ם (צילום: רויטרס) 

Netanyahu draws red line in UN Assembly (Photo: Reuters)

 

He was referring to the line Netanyahu drew in his UN Assembly speech in September.

 

According to Yadlin, "by the summer, Iran will be able to decide to make a bomb within a month, two at most – a range which will make stopping it very difficult."

 

Netanyahu's statement was issued against the backdrop of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who said on Sunday in New York that the Iranian nuclear program has not progressed in years and that the extent of the threat has been exaggerated. 

 

Habayit Hayehudi Chairman, Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett, responded to Olmert and said: "During Lag B'Omer, I'm afraid Olmert chose to start a fire in New York. This fire is wrong and harmful. All this chatter about Iran is unnecessary."

 

Netanyahu also referred to other security issues he termed "a cluster of threats," and mentioned that "Syria is cracking, new forces are rising and they pose two possible dangers – an attack from the Golan Heights and lethal weapons falling into the hands of Hezbollah and other terror groups.

 

"In the south, we follow all developments. We'll not allow citizens to be harmed either in the north or the south. If the attacks from Gaza continue our response will be far harsher."

 

Referendum proposal

Though a peace agreement is far from imminent, the question of putting the issue of relinquishing territory to a referendum has resurfaced – and with it some controversy within the Likud-Beiteinu faction.

 

Netanyahu said in the faction meeting that he will promote the proposal put forward by the coalition chairman Yariv Levin, but his number two, Avigdor Lieberman, was opposed.

 

"I support a referendum from the simple reason that it's a fateful issue," Netanyahu explained.

 

"I don’t think a peace agreement can be passed by a random majority," he added.

 

According to MK Levin, the proposal will only deal with relinquishing of territory under Israel's full jurisdiction, thus making the proposal relevant for the annexed east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, but not for the West Bank.

 

"We're not too happy about the referendum law," Lieberman opposed.

 

"A government should rule and not put everything to the popular vote."

 

 

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פרסום ראשון: 04.29.13, 17:32
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