JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, citing the lessons of the Nazi Holocaust and the danger a nuclear-armed Iran, said on Tuesday that Israel must not shy from acting alone to thwart any threat to its existence.
Addressing parliament ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, Netanyahu praised a European Union decision on Monday to place sanctions on Iranian oil exports.
“But on this day of international cooperation and an important achievement against Iran, I want to remind everyone of the main lesson of the Holocaust against our people – that ultimately when there is threat to our existence, we must not leave our fate in the hands of others,” he said.
“When it is a question of our fate, it is our obligation to rely only on ourselves.”
Israel has said a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a threat to the existence of the Jewish state and that all options were on the table in dealing with Tehran, which insists it is enriching uranium for electrical generation.
Israel’s main ally, the United States, has voiced concern that Israel could attack Iran preemptively and deepen instability in an already volatile region. Last week, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said any decision about such a strike was “very far off.”
In the speech, Netanyahu repeated his long-standing call for tougher sanctions against Iran coupled with a “credible military option” to dissuade Tehran from building nuclear weapons.
He signaled, however, that Israel was not about to give up on international diplomatic efforts to curb Iran’s atomic ambitions.
Netanyahu said that one lesson of the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were killed during World War Two, was that Israel must “forge as many alliances in the world as possible” to act against any existential threat.
But he added: “We must not bury our heads in the sand. The Iranian regime calls openly for the destruction of Israel, and plans the destruction of Israel and acts for the destruction of Israel. The lesson says that the nations of the world must be awoken.”