Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu Asserts Autonomy As Allies Urge Restraint On Iran

Thursday, 04/18/2024

After a meeting with the British and German foreign ministers, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Israel will make its own decisions regarding its response to Iran's missile and drone attacks.

"I thank our friends for their support for Israel's defense, both in words and in deeds. They also have various proposals and advice, which I appreciate, but I want to clarify that we will make our own decisions. The State of Israel will do whatever is necessary to defend itself…,” Netanyahu said.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock had traveled to Jerusalem amid the escalating tensions between Iran and Israel,

Experts say their visit was likely intended to express solidarity following Iran's attack on Israel and to discuss the ongoing war in Gaza, including the humanitarian aid situation.

While Cameron emphasized the importance of minimizing escalation and ensuring a “smart” approach, he told reporters after the meeting that “it's clear the Israelis are making a decision to act".

The British Foreign Secretary also wrote on X that during the meeting he told the Israeli Prime Minister that they “must maintain [their] focus on getting more aid into Gaza and getting hostages out".

Echoing those comments, Baerbock reiterated Germany's solidarity with Israel while she cautioned against escalation, stating that “everyone must now act prudently and responsibly”.

“A spiraling escalation would serve no one, not Israel’s security, not the many dozens of hostages still in the hands of Hamas, not the suffering population of Gaza, not the many people in Iran who are themselves suffering under the regime, and not the third countries in the region who simply want to live in peace,” Baerbock said.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi meanwhile threatened that even the slightest incursion into Iran would trigger severe retaliation, like increasing the diplomatic pressures on Israel to avoid a major escalation.

Speaking today at Iran’s annual Army Day, which was relocated to a barracks without any explanation from the authorities, Raisi warned that even the "tiniest invasion" by Israel would be met with a "massive and harsh" response from Iran.

G7 foreign ministers are also meeting this week in Italy to discuss targeted sanctions against Iran and are widely expected to issue a joint plea urging Israel to show restraint in its response to Iran.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, who is hosting the talks, told AFP that the ministers were "working" on implementing some form of sanctions against Iran.

The US, Israel's key ally, has similarly pledged to impose further sanctions in the coming days.

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