Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the following statement:
“First, on behalf of the people of Israel, I wish to send condolences to President Obama, the American people and the family of Kayla Mueller. We stand with you.
Israel’s survival is not a partisan issue, not in Israel nor in the United States.
This doesn’t mean that from time to time Israeli governments have not had serious disagreements with American administrations over the best way to achieve the security of Israel.
Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, declared Israel’s independence in the face of strong opposition from US Secretary of State George Marshall. Likewise, Prime Minister Eshkol’s decisions at the start of the Six-Day War, Prime Minister Begin’s decision regarding the nuclear reactor in Iraq, and Prime Minister Sharon’s decision to press ahead with Operation Defensive Shield; these were all strongly opposed at the time by American administrations.
Disagreements over Israel’s security have occurred between prime ministers in Israel from the left and from the right and American presidents from both parties.
None of these disagreements led to a rupture in the relationship between Israel and the United States. In fact, over time, our relationship grew stronger.
But we do have today a profound disagreement with the United States administration and the rest of the P5+1 over the offer that has been made to Iran.
This offer would enable Iran to threaten Israel’s survival.
This is a regime, Iran, that is openly committed to Israel’s destruction. It would be able, under this deal, to break out to a nuclear weapon in a short time and, within a few years, to have the industrial capability to produce many nuclear bombs for the goal of our destruction.
This is not a personal disagreement between President Obama and me. I deeply appreciate all that he has done for Israel in many fields. Equally, I know that the President appreciates my responsibility, my foremost responsibility, to protect and defend the security of Israel.
I am going to the United States not because I seek a confrontation with the President, but because I must fulfil my obligation to speak up on a matter that affects the very survival of my country.
I intend to speak about this issue before the March 24th deadline and I intend to speak in the US Congress because Congress might have an important role in a nuclear deal with Iran.