Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday that as regards the crisis in Syria and the Iranian threat, “not words, but deeds and results” are what matters. Regarding Israel's strategic predicament, he said that sometimes a choice must be made between “bad and worse.”
In a ceremony marking 40 years since the Yom Kippur War, Netanyahu said that Israel's leadership faltered at the time, but the Israeli nation and the IDF showed staying power and turned the tables of the war. The same endurance is needed today, he said. “But we cannot be content with that. It is the duty of the leadership to be strong. It must see the strategic arena in full. Sometimes it must choose between bad and worse, and it must ensure the survival of the state of Israel. That is the true basis of our deterrence and that is the basis of our existence.”
The strategic situation has changed greatly since the Yom Kippur War, he said. “We signed a peace agreement with Egypt and Jordan, and we are trying to reach an accord with the Palestinians.” However, he said, “We are in the middle of a regional earthquake the likes of which has not been seen since the establishment of Israel: missiles, and cyber, and weapons of mass destruction.”
Regarding the agreements between the US and Russia regarding Syria's chemical arsenal, Netanyahu said that “We hope that the understandings between Russia and Syria bear fruit, and that indeed, they stand the test of the result: the complete destruction of all of the stores of the chemical weapons that the Syrian regime has used against its citizens.”
"The test of the result also applies to the diplomatic efforts by the international community to stop Iran's nuclear arming,” he added. “Here, too – words will not be what determines things, but deeds and results. Israel has to be ready to defend itself, by itself, against every threat, and this preparedness is more important now than it has ever been,” Netanyahu said.
Speaking later as he stood next to visiting US Secretary of State Kerry, Netanyahu said stripping Syria of its chemical stockpile would make the region "a lot safer", and was quick to draw parallels with the threat posed by a nuclear Iran.
The world needs to ensure that radical regimes don't have weapons of mass destruction because, as we've learned once again in Syria, if rogue regimes have weapons of mass destruction they will use them," he said.
"If diplomacy has any chance to work it must be coupled with a credible military threat," he said. "What is true of... Syria is true of Iran."