Hanegbi: Israel, America can Disagree
MK Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) reacted Sunday to reports that tensions between the United States and Israel are high due to disagreement over a pending agreement between Western nations and Iran. The situation has reportedly reached the point where U.S. President Barack Obama is avoiding Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s phone calls, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has advised senators to ignore Israel’s input on Iran.
There is no need to panic, Hanegbi wrote on his Facebook page.
“We’ve disagreed on important issues more than once in the past, and the bold friendship between our countries has not weakened,” Hanegbi wrote.
He cited several examples: the United States strongly opposed Israel’s decision to declare Jerusalem a united city under Israeli sovereignty following the Six Day War, the U.S. opposed Israel’s decision to annex the Golan, and the U.S. opposed the establishment of Israeli communities in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.
In addition, he noted, the United States “was mad at Menachem Begin following his courageous decision to demolish the nuclear reactor in Iraq.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was right to make his concerns over the deal with Iran public, despite the upset it caused among American leaders, Hanegbi said. “When it comes to issues that are critical to Israel’s future and Israel’s future, Israeli leaders must present their views openly without hesitation,” he declared.
“I think that ultimately, the United States will recognize that it made a mistake,” he added. “Like it did when it came to Begin and the Iraqi reactor.”
“In 1981, [U.S.] President Reagan was furious and froze the implementation of an agreement to supply our air force with American planes,” he recalled. “A few years later, when the United States ended up in direct military conflict with [Iraqi dictator] Saddam Hussein, the heads of Congress thanked Begin and praised his strategic planning.”
Hanegbi's mention of Begin's unilateral strike in Iraq comes amid rumors that Israel is working with Saudi Arabia to plan a strike on Iran's nuclear program if talks between Iran and the West fail to yield an agreement that seriously limits Iran's ability to create nuclear weapons.