Netanyahu: Government is tying Israel’s hands against Iran

The ‘no surprises’ policy with the U.S. could lead to plans against Iran being leaked, says Opposition leader.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu warned Monday that Israeli action against Iran is endangered by American leaks due to the foreign minister’s ‘no surprises’ promise to the Biden administration.

Charging that the government is “doing nothing” against Iran’s race for a nuclear bomb in a speech at the Besheva summer conference, Netanyahu said that this is an “existential threat that has to be fought by any and all means,” but instead, “the government did a shocking thing.”

A few days after the establishment of the new government, Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said, ‘We have agreed with the Americans on a policy of ‘no surprises’ vis-à-vis Iran.”

“Do you know how many [American] administrations demanded this kind of policy?” Netanyahu asked. “That is, that we’ll tell them ahead of time of our intentions to act in one way or another? But I never once agreed to this. Sometimes I told them, many times I didn’t.”

The reasons for his refusal were two-fold, he explained.

“Maybe they wouldn’t agree, so we’d enter into inevitable friction,” he said.

“Second, this information has an unhealthy, special quality of being leaked. And when it’s leaked, and you plan some action and it appears in The Washington Post or The New York Times, the foiling action is itself thwarted.

“This is why I never, ever agreed…. and [when] the Americans said it was important to them, I said that to you it’s an important issue, to us it’s an existential one. And on existential issues I fervently guard our freedom of action, our sovereignty.”

“And here, within days, without blinking an eye, Yair Lapid comes and offers it,” Netanyahu continued. “Unbelievable. How can they tie our hands like that? Have we become a protectorate? If we do not have complete independence to act against Iran, we have no independence at all.”

If this is a governmental failure on the operational end against Iran, he added, there is also failure on the political end, due to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s decision to work quietly with the Americans regarding their efforts to re-enter the nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic.

Netanyahu argued that “only public pressure” could influence the American administration, but “this government is silent in the face of Iran’s gallop to the deal.” Lack of an outcry “would give an international stamp of approval” for Iran to have nuclear weapons “within just a few years,” he said.