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January 11, 2019 2:33 pm

US National Security Adviser John Bolton Reiterates Israel’s Right to Self-Defense Against Iran

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US National Security Adviser John Bolton during a visit to Israel. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun.

John Bolton, the national security adviser to US President Donald Trump, gave a full-throated endorsement on Friday of Israel’s right to defend itself from Iranian aggression.

Asked by radio host Hugh Hewitt about “Israel’s right under Article 51 of the UN Charter to strike” against Iranian convoys of weapons and soldiers to its Shi’a terror proxy Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon, Bolton responded, “That’s something we have stressed over and over again for Israel.”

“You know, I know you’re familiar with the saying people often call Israel the canary in the mineshaft when it comes to the United States, that people would like to criticize Israel or constrain Israel’s options both for its own sake and because they know ultimately it’s the same argument to limit America’s ability to defend itself,” Bolton — who served as President George W. Bush’s ambassador to the UN — told Hewitt. “So we’re very interested in maintaining the unfettered right Israel has of, and as the UN Charter itself calls it the inherent right of individual and collective self-defense.”

Reflecting on his recent discussions with Israeli leaders, Bolton said, “I think Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu feels that that threat from Iran is really the most serious threat that Israel faces.”

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“President Trump, I think, has made it clear publicly on any number of occasions how concerned he is about the proliferation of nuclear weapons, whether it’s North Korea, Iran, or anybody else, and he’s a strong believer in taking steps with Israel and others in the region who are like-minded to make sure Iran never gets to that point,” Bolton continued.

Bolton was also asked whether his visit to an archaeological excavation at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City was meant to convey a political message from the US.

“I’m a huge student of history. I think there’s so much we learn from it,” Bolton answered. “And to be able to go literally as we descended layers down close to the part of the Temple wall that you can’t see because it’s been obscured by building over the millennia, not only are you going down in elevation, you’re going down through hundreds, even thousands of years of human history. And it shows the deep connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel.”

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