March 11, 2012
Islamic Jihad is a wholly owned Iranian subsidiary, so not only did the violence in the South not push Iran off the agenda, it instead thrust Iran front and center, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Likud’s cabinet ministers on Sunday.
Netanyahu’s comments came in response to suggestions that the Palestinians were now interested in a violent escalation to put them back on center stage, following Netanyahu’s trip to Washington where Iran completely overshadowed the Palestinian issue.
“This is about Iran,” said Netanyahu. “If it were not for Iran, these extremists would not have their weapons, training or logistical support.”
Islamic Jihad, which has fired off the majority of the scores of rockets that have hit the South in recent days, is fully supported and armed by Tehran, he said.
Netanyahu told the ministers that this round of violence “could take some time.” He added that while Hamas was not joining in the firing on Israel, the movement was also not preventing the rocket attacks, and that Israel held them ultimately responsible.
Netanyahu went to the South on Sunday afternoon to assess the situation and visit an Iron Dome battery site, where IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh and OC Air Force chief Maj.- Gen. Ido Nehushtan gave him a security briefing.
“You are doing exceptional work,” Netanyahu told the soldiers and officers manning the battery. “I tip the Jewish people’s hat to you.”