Netanyahu Warns Iran: Threatening Israel Puts Tehran 'In Grave Danger'

Netanyahu asks Kazakh President Nazarbayev to convey the message to Rohani, in the latest escalation of rhetoric against Iran since the election of Donald Trump. 'Israel isn't a rabbit, it's a tiger,' he says.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev Wednesday to convey a message to his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rohani that Tehran is "putting itself in grave danger" by continuing to threaten Israel with annihilation. Netanyahu's message to Rohani is the latest in a gradual escalation of the premier's rhetoric vis-à-vis Iran since the election of Donald Trump.
Haaretz learned of the message from a senior official who asked to remain anonymous and who is acquainted with the details of the two leader's meeting in Astana.
During the Netanyahu-Nazarbayev meeting, the latter said that Rohani is scheduled to visit Kazakhstan soon. He asked if Netanyahu would like to convey a message to him. The senior official said that Netanyahu answered in the affirmative, and asked the Kazakhstani president to ask Rohani why Iran continues to threaten Israel with annihilation.
"Israel isn't a rabbit, it's a tiger," Netanyahu told Nazarbayev, according to the official. "Israel isn't a small helpless country. The Iranians don't know who they are dealing with, and Iran is putting itself in grave danger."
The senior official said that Netanyahu also asked Nazarbayev to make clear to Rohani that if Iran changes its attitude toward Israel, Israel will change its attitude toward Iran as well.
In recent weeks, since the U.S. elections were held, Netanyahu has resumed commenting on the Iranian nuclear program, a topic he had not mentioned publicly in a while.
In remarks to the Saban Forum on December 4, Netanyahu said he hoped to speak to President-elect Trump about “the bad deal with Iran.” He added that Iran has grown more aggressive in the Middle East ever since the deal was signed in July 2015.
When asked about the possibility of a military strike against Iran, Netanyahu said: “I mean it when I say we are committed to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.”
Two days afterwards, Netanyahu alluded to the Iranian issue during an annual memorial for late prime minister David Ben-Gurion.
“Our military might…must be capable of threatening annihilation against those who threaten to annihilate us,” Netanyahu said, hinting at Iran’s nuclear program.
On December 11, CBS broadcast a lengthy interview with Netanyahu on its “60-Minutes” program. Netanyahu said there that he would propose to Trump ways to cancel Schermata 2016 12 15 alle 22.57.08the Iranian nuclear deal. “There are various ways of undoing it,” Netanyahu said.
"I think what options we have are much more than you think. Many more. .. I have about five things in my mind. I’d like to talk to the president (about it)," Netanyahu said.
On Monday, Netanyahu continued with the messages about Iran during the reception ceremony for the first F-35 fighter planes at the air base in Nevatim.
“I want to say in the clearest way: Whoever thinks of attacking us, will be attacked,” Netanyahu said. “Whoever considers destroying us puts himself in existential danger. This is an essential condition for ensuring our future.”

Barak Ravid

Haaretz Correspondent

read more: 2016 12 15 alle 22.57.18

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives.

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