PM meets with Macron following Merkel and ahead of UK’s May; Netanyahu address focuses on radical Islam, Iran, Gaza crisis, anti-Semitism in France; Macron: Accord needs to be preserved to ensure control of nuclear activity.
Prime Minister Netanyahu met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris Tuesday, their meeting centered on Iran. The leaders also attended a Gala event to celebrate 70 years of continued relations between Israel and France.
The prime minister met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin Monday, and is scheduled to meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday in efforts to persuade the European signatories of the nuclear deal to take action against Iran.
Speaking to the press following their meeting, Netanyahu spoke of the threat of radical Islam to the globe’s democracies, stating “all the democracies, share a common challenge… radical Islam. It challenges not only the democracies, it challenges Muslims. It kills Muslims. It does horrible things to them.” He referred to two great sources of aggression, the first the “militant Sunnis, initially led by Al-Qaeda and now led by Daesh [Islamic State] that has been largely crushed in Syria and Iraq,” and the second- militant Shiites led by Iran.
He assured Macron that Israel is “doing everything we can to prevent the aggressive designs of Iran, which will ultimately destabilize not only the Middle East in their effort to conquer the Middle East, but destabilize Europe and the world.” He also spoke of Israel and France’s intelligence cooperation which has aided France in thwarting numerous terror attacks.
On Islamic terror in France, he cited the 250 deaths from terror attacks, reiterating the core of the threat of radical Islamic- Iran. “The greatest threat to the world today in my view is nuclear weapons in the hands of a radical Islamic regime like Tehran,” Netanyahu stated, then speaking of the recent nuclear archive Israel’s Mossad obtained. He stated “The nuclear archive that we uncovered recently proved that Iran lied to the world about its nuclear weapons program and I believe now is the time to apply maximum pressure on Iran to make sure that their nuclear program doesn’t go anywhere.”
Netanyahu clarified to the press that he did not ask Macron to leave the nuclear deal, but rather to focus on economic sanctions to pressure Iran. He reiterated Israel’s goal for “a reconstructed Syria which you seek… the precondition to that is that Iran leaves Syria- all of Syria. It has no business being there. And we must block Iran’s plans to transport its army and its weapons, sophisticated and deadly weapons to Syria, from which they seek to attack Israel.”
He then addressed the Gaza Strip crisis, clarifying to the press amidst ongoing media bias and lies that “These are violent riots that are organized by Hamas. They’re using human shields to move their terrorists in place, they want to kidnap Israelis, they want to murder Israelis.” He spoke about Hamas’s payment to protestors, and efforts to “storm into Israel, capture civilians or soldiers right next to the fence, within meters of the fence, of the border fence, they burn our fields. These are not civilians.”
The prime minister added, “We have a right to defend ourselves against. We exercise that right. We seek to do it in nonlethal means and we’re not successful because Hamas wants these people killed.”
Speaking of growing relations between Israel with Arab states, Netanyahu highlighted the “changed attitude” as states in the region combat the same enemies. He also spoke of how “Arab countries believe that they can join Israeli technology to have water, to have agriculture, to have cleaner air, to have IT, to have all the health services,” adding “There is a change. And I believe ultimately this is the biggest hope for peace.”
Macron spoke following, echoing the words of Merkel from Monday, stating “I told the prime minister of my deep conviction, which is shared with our European partners, that the accord needs to be preserved to ensure control of nuclear activity… I call on all sides to stabilize the situation and not give into escalation which will lead to one thing: conflict.”
Netanyahu will meet with Prime Minister Theresa May in London, his last stop in Europe this week.
Photo: Netanyahu and Macron, Screenshot, 2018.