Israel will make its own decision to defend itself, says Netanyahu

Earlier, Netanyahu's office said that during his meetings with Baerbock and Cameron, Israeli PM "reiterated that Israel would maintain its right to self-defense."

Tel Aviv: Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed at a cabinet meeting that Israel will make its own decisions and do whatever is necessary to protect itself, even if it contradicts the advice given by its allies, as reported by The Times of Israel.

Netanyahu made the remark at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday after meeting with the foreign ministers of the UK and Germany. Earlier in the day, UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock arrived in Israel after Tehran’s attack on the country, on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday, launching around 350 drone and missile strikes.

Germany and the UK have called on Israel to exercise restraint after its attack, warning that any additional direct hostilities with Iran could result in all-out war in the Middle East, according to The Times of Israel. However, Israel has vowed to retaliate against Iran, saying that it cannot be allowed to attack without facing repercussions.

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In his remarks at the cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that the two leaders had “all kinds of suggestions and advice.” He noted that while it was appreciated, Israel would nevertheless “make our own decisions, and Israel will do everything necessary to defend itself.”

Speaking to reporters in Israel, David Cameron said that it was clear there would be retaliation against Israel. However, he expressed hope that it is carried out in a “way that is smart as well as tough and also does as little as possible to escalate this conflict.”

Meanwhile, Annalena Baerbock expressed her opposition to Israel’s plan to retaliate against Iran. However, she added that Germany remains in full solidarity with Israel, as The Times of Israel reported.

Baerbock said, “Iran and its proxies, such as Hezbollah or the Houthis, must not be allowed to add fuel to the fire,” adding that there would be consequences to Iran’s strike as the European Union was working on imposing further sanctions against Tehran, according to The Times of Israel report.

Earlier, Netanyahu’s office said that during his meetings with Baerbock and Cameron, Israeli PM “reiterated that Israel would maintain its right to self-defense.”

In a post on Israel Prime Minister’s Office, it stated, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met today with British Foreign Secretary David Cameron and with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. During the meetings, Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated that Israel would maintain its right to self-defense.”

Earlier, David Cameron and Annalena Baerbock held a meeting with Israel President Isaac Herzog and Foreign Minister Israel Katz. The talks between leaders focused on the potential of an Israeli retaliation, the report said.

Baerbock and Cameron are scheduled to attend a meeting of Group of Seven foreign ministers in Italy on Wednesday. During the meeting, foreign ministers of G7 nations will discuss imposing new sanctions on Iran. Baerbock reiterated her call for Israel to exercise restraint, saying that “everyone must now act prudently and responsibly.”

Baerbock said, “I’m not talking about giving in. I’m talking about prudent restraint, which is nothing less than strength.” She stated, “Because Israel has already shown strength with its defensive victory at the weekend.” She said that nobody would benefit from hitting back at Iran.

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron urged Israel to focus back on Gaza, where its counter-offensive against Hamas has entered its seventh month. Speaking to reporters, he said, “The real need is to refocus back on Hamas, back on the hostages, back on getting the aid in, back on getting a pause in the conflict in Gaza.”

Tensions escalated between Israel and Iran after the latter on Saturday launched several drones and missiles towards the former in retaliation for the alleged Israeli air strike on its consulate in Syria that resulted in the killing of Iran’s three top generals.

On Sunday morning, Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said that 99 per cent of the 300 or so projectiles fired by Iran at Israel overnight were intercepted by air defences, The Times of Israel reported.

“The Iranian threat met the aerial and technological superiority of the IDF, combined with a strong fighting coalition, which together intercepted the vast majority of the threats,” Hagari said.

According to a report in the CNN, about 350 rockets were fired at Israel by Iran and its allies in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon. The attack included about 170 drones, more than 30 cruise missiles and more than 120 ballistic missiles.

Nearly all were intercepted, according to the Israeli military and the White House. The US, Jordan and UK also took part in intercepting the attack.

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