As Netanyahu meets Cameron, Israeli officials claim European support is not essentialby Bronwen Maddox / September 9, 2015 / Leave a comment
Israel has lots of new friends in Africa, Asia and Latin America, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will tell David Cameron on Thursday morning—and while it would like European support, it doesn’t need it.
It is also talking quietly to many Arab governments to counter both Iran and extremism from Islamic State, senior Israeli officials say.
The tough line that Netanyahu is likely to take comes in the face of growing public criticism in Britain and much of the European Union to Israel’s policy towards Palestinians. But European governments and companies will shoot themselves in the foot if they boycott products made east of the 1967 border, on land occupied by Israel since then, Israeli officials argue. Demand from China, India, Brazil, and others for Israeli cyber technology and other high-tech is booming, they claim.
Netanyahu’s visit, which has triggered protests outside Downing Street, comes in the wake of the deal with Iran over its nuclear programme, brokered for years by Britain, France and Germany, and pushed hard by President Barack Obama. The prospect of sanctions against Iran lifting has appalled Israel, and Netanyahu has claimed that it will enable Iran to raise funds to back extremism across the region while only delaying the point at which Tehran gets nuclear weapons capability. Through his official Twitter account, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said today that Israel would not survive 25 years, while calling the United States by the old epithet the Great Satan, and rejecting the notion of talks beyond the nuclear deal.
The Iran deal represents a blow to Netanyahu and a rebuff to his attempts to influence the US. Relations with the Obama Administration have been famously cool, but the confidence of his team in future support from the US may be bolstered by the calculation that almost every candidate for the US presidency, on Republican or Democrat side, sounds warmer to Israel than has Obama.