Good ties between Israel, Turkey to ‘benefit all’

Good ties between Israel, Turkey to ‘benefit all’

Good ties between Israel, Turkey to ‘benefit all’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, 10 December 2012, addresses the Foreign Press Association. EPA photo

An effective relationship between Turkey and Israel will benefit both sides against common threats originating from third parties, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Dec. 10.

“Both of us are under pressure and facing threats. A good relationship between Turkey and Israel would let us overcome this problem in future,” Anatolia news agency quoted Netanyahu as saying.

As Iran is getting ever closer to being able to build a nuclear bomb and the problem will have to be confronted in 2013, Israeli officials would like the United States to take the lead in a military assault on Iran’s nuclear sites, but say in private they would go it alone if necessary, describing a nuclear-armed Iran as an existential threat to Israel, Reuters reported.

Speaking to foreign journalists, Netanyahu said Israel was sticking to the red line he laid down in September, when he told the United Nations Iran should not have enough enriched uranium to make even a single warhead. “I made clear that once Iran crosses that enrichment threshold, the chances of us effectively stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program would be reduced dramatically,” he said.

“Iran is two-and-a-half months closer to crossing this line and there is no doubt that this will be a major challenge that will have to be addressed next year.” Iran denies accusations that it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, saying its ambitious nuclear program is for peaceful, civilian purposes. Israeli experts have said Iran could have enriched enough uranium to produce just one bomb by the spring or summer of 2013.

“Israel is more capable of addressing this challenge than it was when I took office four years ago,” said Netanyahu, who looks on course to win re-election in a Jan. 22 national ballot.