Netanyahu on Media Tour: “The Days of Bulldozers Uprooting Jews Are Behind Us, Not Ahead”
Ahead of Tuesday’s elections Benjamin Netanyahu has granted a host of interviews to Israeli media outlets. The incumbent prime minister, expected to easily retain his post, spoke on various issues including Iran, settlements and his relationship with Barack Obama.
During an interview with Israeli daily Maariv, Netanyahu addressed the issue of settlements, maintaining a defiant approach in the face of international criticism of his policies. According to a translation he said:
“The days of bulldozers uprooting Jews are behind us, not ahead. We’re not involved with volunteering concessions. The record shows this. We’ve never uprooted even one settlement, we strengthened the settlements, we have Ariel, the first university in decades.”
Sticking to the issue of settlements Netanyahu told Israel Hayom: “We are always operating to boost Jewish settlement within the confines of the law. Much of the criticism we are subjected to around the world is because we are building. Anyone who thinks that they can lead the country without taking all these factors into account will end up banging their heads against the wall. It is not good for the head. The wall usually remains intact.”
On Iranian sanctions Netanyahu told Israel Hayom, “They are effectively weakening the regime there, but so far they have been ineffective in stopping the Iranian nuclear program.”
During the same interview Netanyahu addressed recent statements by U.S. President Barack Obama that Israel didn’t know what was in its best interest.
“I think that President Obama knows that only the citizens of Israel will determine what Israel’s vital interests are, and they will be the ones who decide who is best suited to protect these interests in the best possible way,” Netanyahu said, and added: “The relationship between Israel and the U.S. is very strong. We are in full cooperation on defense and intelligence. There are also joint ventures in other areas as well, but there are disagreements over the best way to achieve peace. That is not new. Disagreements surrounding this issue have existed between Israeli prime ministers and American presidents since the establishment of the State of Israel.”
On the same subject Netanyahu told the Jerusalem Post: “President Obama and I also have our differences, especially on the best way to achieve and advance a defensible peace with the Palestinians. I respect the president and I know that we would both like to see peace achieved in this region, even if we sometimes disagree on the best way to achieve it.”
On the future of the country Netanyahu sounded a positive, and cautious tone: “There are going to be tough years, but I am confident we can overcome these challenges. We have overcome extraordinary challenges. The state of Israel is immeasurably stronger than it was at its inception.
“We’ve become a technological world power, we are changing our education system and our children now are clearly at a different place. We have unbelievable innovation, both in industry and in our military, and the Israeli economy is surpassing just about every advanced economy in the West.”