Daily Israel Report

Herzog: Netanyahu Creating 'Unnecessary Panic' About Iran

Labor party chairman accuses PM of creating panic about Iran, accuses him of harming U.S.-Israel relations.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/26/2013, 2:16 AM

MK Yitzchak Herzog
MK Yitzchak Herzog
Flash 90

Labor party chairman MK Yitzchak Herzog on Monday accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of creating unnecessary panic about the deal that was reached with Iran about its nuclear program.

In an interview on Channel 10’s morning show, Herzog also accused Netanyahu of seriously hurting Israel’s relationship with the United States.

"It's just an interim agreement, judgment day has not come yet," he said, adding, "[Netanyahu] took the right step when he put the Iranian issue on the global map, but now he is just spoiling the dish. I think it creates unnecessary panic. This is not doomsday, it has not yet arrived.”

“This stage of the agreement requires intimacy between President Obama and the Prime Minister and instead we have an exchange of blows. This creates a total lack of confidence and that's what led to the fact that no one listened to Netanyahu on this issue,” charged Herzog.

He went on to say that Netanyahu was mistaken in his attempt to attack the agreement and must now treat it as fait accompli.

"The six-month window is critical and instead of creating dialogue we’re creating friction,” said Herzog. “You really think [Yuval] Steinitz or [Limor] Livnat will affect the process?”

Later Monday, Herzog made similar comments during a meeting of the Labor faction, saying, "I would advise the Prime Minister to stop sparring with President Obama. The agreement with Iran is now a fact, and need to know how to deal with it. The Prime Minister should come to Obama’s office, shut the door and speak to him in private. As much as he and his ministers shout and shriek at the United States, that does not bother anybody. I suggest he calm things down, at the end of the day this agreement can also have a lot of benefits.”

Netanyahu slammed the deal on Sunday, saying. “As we learn more and more details about the agreement that was achieved last night in Geneva, it becomes increasingly clear how bad and dangerous this agreement is to the world, the region and Israel.”

“Iran is receiving billions of dollars in eased sanctions without having to pay any real price. Iran is receiving written approval to violate UN Security Council resolutions,” he added. “To a large degree, this agreement rescues Iran from the pressure it has been under and also gives it international legitimacy to continue its nuclear program. This is a bad agreement."

Shortly after his remarks on Sunday evening, Netanyahu received a phone call from Obama to discuss the deal. During the conversation, Obama told Netanyahu that he wants the United States and Israel to begin consultations regarding the final deal that is to be reached with Iran after six months.

Relations between Israel and the United States have been strained for quite some time, as Netanyahu had repeatedly warned before the deal was signed that it was a bad one.

According to some recent reports, the U.S. administration has been frustrated with Netanyahu’s warnings to the point that Obama has been refusing to accept Netanyahu’s phone calls.