Netanyahu: Israel will not allow Iranian influence in West Bank
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday accused Iran of exerting its influence in Lebanon and Gaza and warned that Israel would not allow the same to happen in the West Bank, dpa reported.
He spoke during a special session of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, marking 15 years according to the Hebrew calendar since the assassination of former premier Yitzhak Rabin.
"We don't want to take away the Palestinians' right to self-determination," Netanyahu said.
"However, we left Lebanon and now Iran is approaching the (border) fence. We left Gaza and now Iran is approaching the (border) fence."
Netanyahu was referring to the support Iran gives to the radical Shiite Hezbollah movement in southern Lebanon, and to its backing of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, indicating that Israel would not allow Hamas to take control of the West Bank.
At a state memorial service on Mount Herzl earlier Wednesday, Netanyahu said many years had passed and much had changed since the November 4, 1995 assassination.
"The desired peace we haven't reached yet, and I'm not sure I'm entirely surprised. I was a sceptic and cautious," he said, adding he was nevertheless determined to continue on the road to reconciliation and an agreement.
Netanyahu, of the nationalist Likud party, was a strong opponent of the 1993 interim Oslo peace agreements which Rabin signed with late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Rabin was shot dead during a peace rally in Tel Aviv by an extremist Jew opposed to his peace moves. The assassin, Yigal Amir, is serving a life sentence.