In his final statement before the Knesset on Sunday June 13, outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted President Biden’s policy toward Iran, criticizing the Biden administration’s efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal.
“The new US administration requested that I save our disagreements on the Iran nuclear deal for behind closed doors, and not share them publicly,” Netanyahu said Sunday “I told them I won’t act that way.”
A defiant Netanyahu spoke for more than half an hour in his final Knesset address as prime minister, stating that he would no longer put his foreign policy conflicts with the Biden administration. He also compared the United States’ return to the Iran nuclear deal to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s decision not to bomb the Auschwitz railroad tracks when he had the chance.
“In 1944, at the height of the Holocaust, US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt refused to bomb the railway leading to the extermination camps, and refused to bomb the gas chambers, which could have saved millions of our people. We hoped for others to save us, and they didn’t come. In the face of the threat of extermination, we were helpless,” he continued “Our voice was not heard among the nations. We had neither a state or an army. But today we do have a voice. We do have a state, and we do have defensive power.”
Netanyahu, one of Israel’s longest-serving leaders, was deposed as prime minister on Sunday after the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, voted to establish a new government. According to the agreement, Naftali Bennett, who is reportedly opposed to the Iran deal, will serve as prime minister for two years before being replaced in 2023 by centrist Yair Lapid.
Netanyahu also accused the new coalition of being unprepared and incapable of preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons.
“I’ve heard what Bennett said [about standing firm against Iran], and I’m concerned, because Bennett does the opposite of what he promises,” Netanyahu stated.
“An Israeli prime minister has to be able to say no to the president of the US on matters that endanger our existence. I’ll be happy if this doesn’t come true, but from the moment the US returns to the Iran deal, this government will not approve operations against Iran to stop their armament,” Netanyahu said, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Netanyahu also attacked Bennett, a former ally, as a political lightweight who lacks the capacity to handle the job, claiming that the new alliance will be unable to resist Iran’s existential threat.
“If I have to choose between tension between us and abolishing an existential threat to Israel, then abolishing the growing threat with an agreement or without an agreement,” Netanyahu said. “Unfortunately for me, Bennet. He doesn’t have the international standing. He doesn’t have the credibility. He doesn’t have the ability. He doesn’t have a government. He doesn’t have the ability to put up genuine opposition. And from all the differences, of which there are many, between us and the incoming government, this is the most important and fateful difference for the future of the state of Israel.”
While the embattled prime minister is stepping down, Netanyahu insists that he and his allies will return to power quickly.
Iran is “celebrating” Netanyahu’s loss, according to Netanyahu, because “they understand that starting today there will be a weak and unstable government that will align with the dictates of the international community.”
“An Israeli prime minister must be able to say no to the president of the United States on matters that endanger our existence, and to back this up with massive work in congress, in the senate, and in public opinion, into the greatest democracy, which is the United States,” Netanyahu added.
“I have just one, modest request,” he said to the incoming government, according to the Times of Israel. “Try to ruin the economy that we are leaving you as little as possible, so that we can fix it as quickly as possible when we return to power.”
Bennett was soon congratulated by Biden.
“Israel has no better friend than the United States. The bond that unites our people is evidence of our shared values and decades of close cooperation and as we continue to strengthen our partnership, the United States remains unwavering in its support for Israel’s security,” Biden stated.