Netanyahu Hits Back at Obama After Controversial Quote is Revealed

A day after American Jewish columnist Jeffrey Goldberg quoted President Barack Obama as saying that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu does not understand what is in Israel's best interest, Netanyahu visited the Gaza border on Wednesday and essentially shot back, "Yes I do."
During the visit to the headquarters of the IDF's Gaza Division, Netanyahu was shown figures indicating that December was the quietest month in the South - in terms of rocket and terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip - in the past 12 years, since January 2001.

"I think everyone understands that only Israel's citizens are those who will be the ones to determine who faithfully represents Israel's vital interests," the prime minister said in his first direct response to Obama's reported criticism.

Netanyahu said over the past four years he had withstood "enormous pressure," including demands that Israel curb its pressure on Iran, withdraw to the pre- 1967 lines, divide Jerusalem and stop building in the eastern part of the capital.

"We fended off all those pressures, and I will continue to stand firm on Israel's vital interests for the security of the citizens of Israel," he declared.

Netanyahu, who was joined on his visit by Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF brass, said he was "very impressed" by the advanced technological measures being deployed in the area, "and even more so by our young soldiers operating them here."

The IDF, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and other security forces were doing "very important work," he said. "They are maintaining the quiet that has been kept since Operation Pillar of Defense."

Netanyahu said that no one had any illusions, and that the quiet could be shattered at any time.


SOURCE: HERB KEINON
The Jerusalem Post
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