By Godwin Onyemaechi
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the new government that succeeded his administration a threat to the country’s national security because it has promised to inform the United States before acting against Iran.
Last Thursday, Israeli Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid held his second phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in just four days, and the two agreed on a “no surprises” policy, according to an Israeli Foreign Ministry statement.
Yesterday, Netanyahu issued a response to the arrangement via video remarks in which he assailed the new government’s apparent break with his own strategy of acting unilaterally. He called it an “astonishing commitment.”
“Lapid promised Blinken that Israel would not surprise the United States on matters relating to Iran’s nuclear programme. That’s the programme designed to produce nuclear weapons to annihilate the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said.
He said if such a deal had been reached by former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin decades ago, “we would not have destroyed Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor.”
“I have been asked by the United States many times to give such a commitment,” Netanyahu added. “Now, mind you, there is no greater ally and no greater friend than Israel has like the United States, but when it comes to matters of our security, our very survival, I’ve always reserved the right to act on our own without informing our American friends.”
The former prime minister revealed that there were times where he acted without first consulting the U.S. and that the commitment by the new ruling coalition headed by Lapid and Bennett would only accelerate its collapse.
“There were times that I did tell them of impending actions, there are many other times where I didn’t, and yet it took the Lapid-Bennett government three days to undermine this important and critical tenet of our national security,” Netanyahu said. “That’s why this government is so dangerous to our future. That’s also why we’ll bring them down a lot faster than you think.”
Ahead of Netanyahu’s comments, Lapid trashed the previous administration in comments delivered to a meeting of his Yesh Atid faction, which came in second only to Netanyahu’s Likud party but managed to coalesce with Bennett’s Yamina and other parties to score a parliamentary majority necessary to win the election.
“We have a lot of work to do. The destruction and neglect we have found in government ministries are inconceivable,” Lapid said. “We’re not starting working from zero but below zero. Instead of worrying about the state, the previous government cared only for itself and its close associates.”