The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office denies an incredulous Wall Street Journal report Monday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu urged U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to talk to Russia about a deal to destroy Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons.
The Journal is a very credible source, and governments often deny the truth, but this time around it can be assumed that Netanyahu is telling the truth and that the newspaper got its fact wrong.
It stated that on Sept. 11, Netanyahu told Kerry on the telephone that he did not think Russia was bluffing about striking a deal on international inspection of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.
The report also said that Israel shared U.S. concerns that military strikes on Syria in retaliation for its alleged use of chemical weapons against its own citizens would strengthen the Syrian rebels, who are linked to al-Qaida, and would allow them to take possession of Syria’s chemical weapons.
“The comments attributed to the prime minister from his conversation with Secretary Kerry on Sept. 11 are untrue,” a government official told the JTA. “The Wall Street Journal report is erroneous.”
Even if the Prime Minister told Kerry that Russia is not bluffing, that does not mean the Prime Minister “encouraged” the United States to accept the deal.
Netanyahu has been aggressively pushing for actin against the Assad regime. If the chemical weapons were to fall into the hands of the opposition, it might be a lot easier to make sure they don’t stay in their hands rather than to trust Assad and President Putin.
The JTA contributed to this report.