Netanyahu Says U.S. and Israeli ‘Clocks’ Differ on Iran’s Threat (NY) TIMES) By ISABEL KERSHNER JERUSALEM, ISRAEL 03/10/12)
NEW YORK TIMES
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JERUSALEM — Addressing his home audience after talks with President
Obama in Washington this week, the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin
Netanyahu, acknowledged that differences still existed in the Israeli
and American timetables for contending with the Iranian nuclear
In taped interviews to be broadcast this weekend on the three main
Israeli television channels, Mr. Netanyahu told Israelis that he
hoped that international pressure and economic sanctions would
succeed in persuading Iran to abandon its nuclear program, which
Israel and the West suspect is a cover for Iranian efforts to achieve
the capability to make nuclear weapons.
But in excerpts of the interviews shown late Thursday, Mr. Netanyahu
reiterated the point he had sought to make forcefully in Washington:
that if Iran did not change course, Israel, which considers a nuclear
Iran a threat to its existence, would not allow itself to be in a
position where its fate was left in others’ hands.
“The United States is big and distant, Israel is smaller and closer
to Iran, and naturally, we have different capabilities,” Mr.
Netanyahu told Channel One, the public television channel. “So the
American clock regarding preventing Iranian nuclearization is not the
Israeli one. The Israeli clock works, obviously, according to a
He added that Israel must never be in a position where it could not
Allaying fears of any imminent action, Mr. Netanyahu told the
commercial Channel Two that stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear
weapons capability was “not a matter of days or weeks.” But he
added, “It is also not a matter of years.”
The interviews were to be broadcast in full on Saturday night.
Iran insists that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.
However, after a series of increasingly onerous sanctions were
imposed on Iran by the West, it agreed last month to resume talks on
its uranium enrichment. Israel, the United States and the other
Western powers believe that even if Iran has not yet decided to
assemble a nuclear bomb, it is striving to create the capability to
Mr. Netanyahu has vowed that Iran will not obtain a nuclear weapon on
his watch. Israel has long called for the need for a credible
military option against Iran, and there has been growing anxiety
abroad that Israel might carry out a pre-emptive strike against
Iran’s nuclear facilities in the coming months.
Mr. Netanyahu and his aides have highlighted the importance of Mr.
Obama’s public statements about the need for Israel to “always have
the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat,”
and “Israel’s sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is
required to meet its security needs.”
But at the same time, Mr. Obama made it clear that he believes that
more time should be given for the sanctions and negotiations to work,
that the only way to permanently prevent Iran from going nuclear is
to have Iran decide to give up its program, and that this was not the
time for an Israeli pre-emptive strike. (Copyright 2012 The New York
Times Company 03/15/12)
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