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February 25, 2015 8:14 pm

Senior Israeli Minister Responds to Kerry’s Criticism of Netanyahu: ‘He Might Not Know What We Know’

avatar by David Daoud

Israeli minister Yuval Steinitz in 2012. Photo: Israel's Ministry of Finance.

Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz responded on Wednesday to criticism that US Secretary of State John Kerry had apparently directed at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his stance on how to address the Iranian nuclear threat, Israel’s NRG reported.

Steinitz, a key Netanyahu loyalist, said, “[Kerry] might not know everything we know,” referring to Kerry’s implication on Tuesday that being as Israel is not involved in the minutiae of the upcoming agreement with Tehran about its nuclear program, it therefore cannot comment on the nature of the agreement’s outcome.

Steinitz’ remarks followed comments made by Secretary Kerry in a hearing before the United States House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, where he argued that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s opposition to the agreement may be wrong.

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Kerry claimed that despite the fact that Netanyahu, who is slated to address Congress next week, had previously expressed opposition to the Interim Agreement with Tehran, he later decided to support it after it was was clear that it succeeded in delaying Iran’s nuclear program.

Speaking at a conference of the research center “Mituim,” dealing with the question of Israel’s international isolation, Steinitz said that, “We know all that we need to know, and we have an excellent picture of the negotiations.” He said that Israel is in close contact with French negotiators who are in touch with Iran’s representatives and are well-versed in the content of the talks currently taking place between the parties. He added that the information that has reached Jerusalem so far is the cause for Israel’s concern, and that despite the US-Israel friendship – which is indeed a strategic asset – “when it comes to the security of the State, we are also ready to fight.”

On Netanyahu’s upcoming trip to the United States, Steinitz said that, “this is a critical issue for our existence, and so we need to make every effort to prevent the agreement, or at least ensure further modifications, improvements  and conditions in order to prevent an even worse agreement.” When it comes to the possibility of a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Steinitz noted that “all options are on the table.”

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