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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Alamy Stock Photo
Middle East

Netanyahu says Israel ‘will make our decisions ourselves’ as UK and German ministers visit Tel Aviv

Speaking to broadcasters in Jerusalem today, David Cameron said Israel appeared to be preparing to retaliate.


PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN Netanyahu has told the visiting British and German foreign ministers that Israel “will reserve the right to protect itself”. 

Netanyahu’s comments to Britain’s David Cameron and Germany’s Annalena Baerbock came days after Iran carried out an unprecedented attack on Israel by launching hundreds of drones, missiles and ballistic missiles.

That missile and drone assault – the first time Iran has directly attacked Israel – was a response to an airstrike that levelled an Iranian consulate building in Damascus, Syria on 1 April, killing 16 people, including two Iranian generals.

Israel has not admitted to carrying out the strike but it has not denied it either, while also claiming that the building was not a consulate. 

After meeting the two visiting diplomats, Netanyahu addressed the cabinet where he said that he had been given “all kinds of suggestions and advice” by the country’s allies.

“However, I would also like to clarify: we will make our decisions ourselves,” he said, according to a statement issued by his office.

Israel’s allies, including those who assisted in intercepting the Iranian attack, have publicly urged it to show restraint and not to escalate the conflict further. Iran followed its attack with a statement saying it now considered the matter closed, but warned Israel not to take further action. 

Speaking to broadcasters in Jerusalem today, Cameron said Israel appeared to be preparing to retaliate.

“It is right to have made our views clear about what should happen next, but it is clear the Israelis are making the decision to act,” he said. 

“We hope they do so in a way that does as little to escalate this as possible and in a way that, as I said yesterday, is smart as well as tough.”

Downing Street echoed the Foreign Secretary’s comments, urging Israel to avoid “significant escalation”.

The British Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters: “Israel has successfully repelled the Iranian attack and Iran is even more isolated on the world stage.

“We want to avoid significant further escalation and bloodshed which would only be deeply destabilising for the region and risk more loss of life.”

Speaking today, Tánaiste Micheál Martin urged Israel not to respond to Iran’s unprecedented attack.

The Foreign Affairs Minister said the threat of escalation in the Middle East “could not get more serious”.

He also urged people to remember the plight of Gazans.

“Ireland’s role, along with fellow members of the European Union, is to appeal for de-escalation of tensions and conflict between Israel and Iran,” he said.

“The implications for the wider region and the civilians in the wider region are extremely dark if conflict escalates – and for the world itself in terms of lives and in terms of livelihoods,” Martin said. 

“We’re saying to Israel not to respond to Iran’s attack, and we’re saying to both sides to de-escalate,” he said. 

Includes reporting by Press Association and © AFP 2024


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