WASHINGTON (AFP) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US President Barack Obama Monday that Israel must remain the "master of its fate" in a firm defense of his right to mount a unilateral strike on Iran.
Netanyahu and Obama met for delicate Oval Office talks taking place amid clear differences on the imminence of the nuclear threat from Iran and after weeks of speculation that Israel may mount go-it-alone military action.
"Israel must have the ability always to defend itself, by itself, against any threat," Netanyahu said in a short, but impassioned comments to cameras at the start of a meeting with Obama, with whom he has had sometimes strained relations.
"After all, that is the very purpose of the Jewish state, to restore to the Jewish people control over our destiny.
"That's why my supreme responsibility as prime minister of Israel is to ensure that Israel remains the master of its fate," said Netanyahu, who ruffled Obama's feathers last year with a stunning lecture in the Oval Office.
The Obama administration has signaled that it does not yet believe Iran has taken a choice to develop a nuclear weapon, or that the time is right for military action, preferring to give biting new sanctions time to work.
Israel, which sees an Iranian nuclear weapon as a threat to its existence, however believes that Iran may be on the cusp of "break out" capacity -- the moment when it could quickly produce weapons-grade uranium.
Monday, March 5, 2012
Netanyahu tells Obama Israel is the "master of its fate"