PM: Israel Facing an Attack on its Right to Exist

Prime Minister directly addresses unprecedented personal attack by US officials, vows to 'continue defending Israel.'

Ari Soffer ,

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has responded directly to personal attacks made against him by "senior US officials" in a report published Tuesday evening.

Speaking at a special Knesset session marking 13 years since the assassination of Tourism Minister Rehava'am Ze'evi (also known by his nickname "Ghandi") by Palestinian terrorists, Netanyahu began by addressing the comments, in which an Obama administration official referred to him as "chickens**t", as well as concerns over an unprecedented crisis in US-Israel relations.

"When there is pressure on Israel to give up on its security the easiest thing is to give up," he said. "As prime minister I stand for the security of Israel. The life of every single citizen and soldier matters to me, and I am not prepared to make compromises that will endanger our country."

"Our interests are not on the minds of those who attack us or me personally," he emphasized. "The attack on me comes because I defend the State of Israel, and despite all the attacks I will continue to defend our country and the citizens of Israel."

The PM added that despite claims to the contrary relations with Washington were still going strong.

"I respect and value our relations with the United States. The strategic alliance between the countries continues and will continue," he said.

Addressing those present - including members of Ze'evi's family - Netanyahu related to the existential challenges faced by the State of Israel, and issued a veiled dismissal of accusations that Israeli construction for Jews in Jerusalem is somehow the main impediment to a peace agreement.

"Israel faces an attack against its right to exist. There are those who dispute the relationship between the people of Israel and its land. There are those who are not ready to (accept) the right of our nation to its own nation-state. This was, and will always be, the root of the conflict."

The PM also remark on the irony of "those who accuse the soldiers of the IDF of war crimes, at a time when we are defending ourselves with unparalleled morality."

He noted that Ze'evi himself had always been quick to jump to the defense of the IDF, and had noted that "the IDF is the only army in history to conquer the Temple Mount and not destroy the places of worship there."