N. Korea proves sanctions not enough, Netanyahu says

Prime minister also tells Jewish Agency Board of Governors that Obama visit will be opportunity to reset talks with Palestinians

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking earlier this month. (photo credit: Dave Bender, Jewish Agency for Israel)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking earlier this month. (photo credit: Dave Bender, Jewish Agency for Israel)

The nuclear test carried out by North Korea last week proves that economic sanctions alone cannot stop a rogue regime from acquiring nuclear weapons, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday, warning that leaders should apply the lessons of Pyongang to Tehran.

Netanyahu told the Board of Governors of The Jewish Agency for Israel in Jerusalem that sanctions would only work on Iran’s nuclear program if they were coupled with a robust military threat, repeating a popular refrain and perhaps offering a preview of what he will tell US President Barack Obama during a visit next month.

“Only sanctions combined with a robust, credible military threat might stop Iran,” he said, warning that “an Iranian nuclear weapon would transform the Middle East into a tinderbox, changing the world as we know it.”

Netanyahu also spoke of other threats facing Israel and what he will discuss with Obama during the US president’s two-day visit to Israel in March.

The prime minister said that Iran’s nuclear program will be just one of the subjects under discussion with Obama during the visit. In addition, Syria and restarting negotiations with the Palestinians will also be reviewed.

“We need to seek a realistic peace process with the Palestinians, one which guarantees peace and security,” Netanyahu said. “I don’t want to waste another four years negotiating about the negotiations. I place no preconditions for negotiations. I wish this were true for the Palestinians. The visit of President Obama is an opportunity to reset this.”

He also called the Boycott Divestment Sanctions campaign against Israel one of the greatest dangers facing the country.

“The delegitimization of Israel in the face of attempts to destroy it is one of the great moral failures of our time,” Netanyahu said. “We should stand up for Israel and the truth.”

The Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency comprises organizations from around the world. It meets three times a year to hold strategic discussions about issues affecting the Jewish world and Israeli society and to formulate Jewish Agency policy.

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