Netanyahu urges May to slap new sanctions on Iran

Netanyahu urges May to slap new sanctions on Iran
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met UK counterpart Theresa May on Monday, urging her to back new sanctions against "provocative" Iran.
2 min read
06 February, 2017
Netanyahu met British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday [Getty]
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited his UK counterpart Theresa May in London on Monday, in the midst of protests in Downing Street by pro-Palestine groups.

Backed by recent statements from the Trump administration condemning Iran's latest missile testing, Netanyahu declared that "Iran seeks to annihilate Israel, it says so openly, it seeks to conquer the Middle East, it threatens Europe, it threatens the West, it threatens the world".

"I think other nations should follow suit, certainly responsible nations," Netanyahu said, as he accused Iran of "provocation after provocation". 

Ahead of the meeting Theresa May had been urged by opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn to take a strong stance against Netanyahu's intentions of building new settlements.

"Theresa May must make it clear to the Israeli Prime Minister that the British government will stand unequivocally behind the rights of the Palestinian people," 
Corbyn said in a statement. 

He added the escalation in settlement-building in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem - 6,000 homes have been announced since Trump's 20 January inauguration - "undermines the prospect of a two-state solution, about which the Netanyahu government is increasingly contemptuous".

Despite the UK voting in favour of a pivotal UN resolution against any expansion of settlements, Prime Minister Theresa May did not press Netanyahu on the issue during his visit. 
May simply reaffirmed British dedication to the two-state solution. 

Knesset settlements vote
The Israeli Knesset is set to vote on Monday on new legislation that allows illegal settlements to be legitimised on condition that settlers can prove they did not have prior knowledge that they were in fact building on privately owned Palestinian lands.

The "Regulation Bill" can be retrospectively applied to 4,000 existing settlements that were built illegally. This bill brings about a host of implications, mainly that it grants the Israeli Knesset powers outside its territorial jurisdiction, making the two-state solution practically impossible.

It would be seen as another step towards at least partial annexation of the West Bank, a key demand for parts of Netanyahu's right-wing cabinet.

If passed, however, the bill could still be challenged, with Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman saying last week: "The chance that it will be struck down by the Supreme Court is 100 percent."