x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Israeli coalition will tackle 'security threats'

Netanyahu vows to form a 'broad and stable' coalition to deal with Iran's nuclear ambitions and the possibility that Syria could lose control of its weapons of mass destruction.

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, arrives at his Jerusalem office for the weekly cabinet meeting.
The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, arrives at his Jerusalem office for the weekly cabinet meeting.

JERUSALEM // Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said yesterday he would seek to assemble a broad and stable political coalition to deal with Iran's nuclear ambitions and the possibility that Syria could lose control of its weapons of mass destruction.

"The entire region is raging and we must be prepared, strong and determined in the face of any possible development," he told his cabinet before its weekly meeting.

"That is why I will strive to form a government as broad and stable as possible, to deal with all the significant security threats facing Israel."

The president, Shimon Peres, is expected to be formally ask Mr Netanyahu in the next few days to form a coalition, after the elections last week in which his joint list won most seats in the parliament.

In his comments yesterday, Mr Netanyahu referred to International Holocaust Day, which was commemorated yesterday, and accused Iran's leaders of "denying the existence of the Holocaust, while preparing what they think will be the next Holocaust - destroying the Jewish state".

"They are not stopping their incessant and systematic race to obtain nuclear weapons to reach that end," he added. "We do not take those threats lightly, and will prevent them, this is our first priority as a government and people."

Mr Netanyahu has frequently warned about the danger of Iran's nuclear programme of uranium enrichment, which Israel and much of the West believes hides a weapons drive. He has refused to rule out the option of unilateral military action if all other ways to halt the programme fail.

Israel is itself widely believed to be the Middle East's only nation with atomic weapons.

The premier yesterday stressed the need to "look around, at what is happening in Iran and its proxies, what is happening in other arenas with lethal weapons in Syria, which is falling apart."

According to media reports in Israel, Mr Netanyahu last Wednesday convened an emergency discussion with the security establishment and his inner cabinet on the situation in Syria and the risk of it losing control over its arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.