Bolton: Israel should go for broke on sovereignty

Bolton says Netanyahu should go ahead with sovereignty plan, next few month are optimum for Israel to “act in its own national security interest.”

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton said Tuesday that in the few months before the U.S. election Israel should do what it has to do, even applying sovereignty to settlements without U.S. approval.

“I think the next few months are an optimal time for Israel to act in its own national security interest,” Bolton said in an interview on Israel Army Radio where he was asked about Israel-related material in his recent book about the Trump administration.

President Donald Trump fired the staunchly pro-Israel Bolton last September, saying he “disagreed strongly” with many of Bolton’s suggestions, “as did others in the administration.”

Bolton is known for his hawkish approach to the Iranians and support for the Jewish state. The former U.S. ambassador to the UN said he didn’t have any “special knowledge” of the recent string of mysterious explosions in Iran, but acknowledged “they seem clearly aimed at both the Iranian nuclear program and the ballistic missile program.”

He said they may have been attacks by dissidents inside Iran or “outsiders” or a combination of both, “but they have my complete support.”

Bolton said those incidents were helping keep pressure on Iran, adding that despite the economic pressure on the rogue regime in Tehran “there’s obviously still a lot more to do and I think this is exactly what we need.”

Bolton said the above ground damage at the Natanz nuclear facility was easy to see, but most of the facility is buried deep underground.

“We don’t know what’s going on in the centrifuge halls below, so I wouldn’t be completely optimistic about whether this is setting the [Iranian nuclear weapons] program back or not.”

“It’s still important to show the ayatollahs that somebody can get even into the most sensitive locations,” Bolton said.

Bolton said he wasn’t voting for Trump or Democratic opponent Joe Biden, but was worried if Trump wins a second term.

“If it turns out he is reelected in November we don’t really know what he’s going to do once he’s freed from electoral constraints,” Bolton said. “That is why people concerned about the Middle East should worry about what happens in a second term.”

Asked about an incident in his book where Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner allegedly blocked calls from Prime Minister Netanyahu about the Iran issue, Bolton pointed to Kushner’s inexperience.

“It’s always a danger with family members in senior positions. This was a particularly important issue and I thought Prime Minister Netanyahu should be heard on it,” Bolton said, calling it a “very serious mistake” by somebody with little background in complex affairs of state.

Bolton says Israel’s decision to back off from applying sovereignty to settlements in Judea and Samaria was due to an obvious disagreement with the Trump administration.

“Jared [Kushner] is still trying to sustain his peace plan and he’s worried about [Israeli] unilateral action or American recognition of unilateral action,” Bolton said. “Personally I would go ahead and do it, but I’m obviously not there to give that advice anymore.”