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Homepage  Briefing Room  Interviews  PM Netanyahu's interview on CBS's "Face the Nation"
PM Netanyahu's interview on CBS's "Face the Nation"
Transcription
22/07/2012

BOB SCHIEFFER: And we're back now on FACE THE NATION with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Prime minister, thank you for joining us. As Americans have been shocked by this tragedy in Colorado, Israel has been burying the dead from the attack last week on innocent Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. It goes without saying, of course, that our sympathy goes out to you and the people of Israel.

But before I get to that, let me ask you about a report in London newspapers this morning that as we near the fortieth anniversary of the attack on Israeli athletes in Munich, that Israeli agents have launched a massive search after reports that an Iranian terror squad is now plotting to kill Israeli athletes at the London Olympics. What can you tell us about that, Sir?

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU : Well, first, I can say that we sympathize--that's not even the word--we deeply empathize with the American people over this tragic massacre in Colorado. You know, you're right, we experience these blood-lettings of innocents periodically, and we know that each time the American people stand with us, so we stand with you. And we-- we-- we say that with great profundity. We feel that grief that sweeps across the American people.

You asked about the London Olympics. Look, we've been witnessing over the last two years, an Iranian-sponsored global campaign, along with its sidekick, Hezbollah, to launch terror attacks against Israelis, and coincidently not only Israelis, they tried to murder the Saudi ambassador in Washington and they were willing to take several senators with him. That was a real possibility. So they've covered about 24 countries in five continents, including the attacks in Bulgaria and attack in Cyprus a few days before. They are-- we are vigilant about the possibility that they would attack elsewhere but I can't give specific detail.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, let me then--

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: And we do give specific details to whoever-- to whoever we need to do and responsible governments and agencies.

BOB SCHIEFFER: So you are-- your other-- other agencies as well as the Israelis are looking for these people and-- and investigating this plot, the one--

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: No, I'm not-- I'm not confirming any information that we have.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: On the Olympics we know that Iran and Hezbollah have been carrying out attacks. Most of them failed because of intelligence successes that we and some other services have had. Some of them, unfortunately, succeeded, as the tragedy in-- in Bulgaria shows. But we-- we are always vigilant. I can't give you any substantiation--

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: --or any attack on the Olympics.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well let-- let's talk about this attack in Bulgaria last week. How sure are you that Iran is behind this?

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Well, Iran and Hezbollah have been carrying out these attacks in just all these countries, in Kenya, in Cyprus before that, in Thailand, in India, many, many countries in many-- many continents. Now, a week before everybody can see what I'm just about to say because this is public. A week before in Cyprus, a Hezbollah operative that was captured, he was arrested and he admitted that his task was to get at Israeli passengers, prepare the attack of Israeli passengers that get off a plane and then they would be targeted with a terrorist attack, exact same pattern. So you'd think, I mean you'd surmise intelligently, that if Hezbollah backed by Iran did this in Cyprus a week earlier, that the same modus operandi repeats itself in Bulgaria. That would be an intelligence surmised for those who see only that. But the prime minister of Israel sees more than that. And I give you a clear statement. We have unquestionable, fully substantiated intelligence that this was done by Hezbollah backed by Iran.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You have said that you will act against Iranian terror with great force. Exactly what do you mean, Sir?

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: What I mean by that is that we will do whatever is necessary to protect, to defend the lives of innocent Israelis, and we'll take those measures as necessary. The reason regimes and organizations use terror tactics is to avoid the consequences and the first act in fighting terrorism is to name and shame the terrorist nations and the terrorist organizations.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well--

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: That's what I'm doing now in your program. It's--

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well--

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: --Iran with Hezbollah. And the second thing is to exact a price because the only way you stop terror after you've exposed it is to make sure that terror doesn't pay.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Would you go so far as to actually attack Iran?

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Well, I-- I'm not going to get into the specifics of what we will do and not do but I think the most important first step is to expose Iran's culpability. And I think this is not nearly an Israeli issue. Yes, they've targeted Israelis, although they targeted and killed, actually, nationals of other countries. Hezbollah and Iran together have claimed the lives of others as well. And the attack, the systematic attack in dozens of countries, in five continents is allowing terror to sweep over the-- the globe. And, you know, if you don't stop it, it gets worse and worse and worse. And I think it's important for the entire international community to stop this wave of terror, but also to consider what would be the consequences of these people who murder diplomats, who roll over embassies, who send terrorist suicide bombers into buses. Just imagine what the consequence would be if these people and if this regime got a hold of nuclear weapons. I think the most important message that I could give is stop-- expose the terrorists, stop the terrorists, and make sure that the world's most dangerous regime doesn't get the world's most dangerous weapons.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me shift to-- to something else. The Republican candidate for President, Mitt Romney is going to be visiting you this week during his trip to Israel. What do you-- what will you be saying to him?

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Oh, pretty much the same things I've said to the presumptive Democratic candidate, Senator Barack Obama, when I greeted him four years ago--roughly the same time--in the campaign. I'll tell him about Israel's desire for peace and also about Israel's concern with the-- the arming of Iran with nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, it's still with us four years later. And, also, the-- the threat to peace and the threat to-- to Israel and to others by the growing arsenal of the terrorists with the Iranian backers.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Would you be as comfortable with Mitt Romney as President of the United States as you are with Barack Obama?

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Oh, God, I'm-- I'm just not going to go that way, Bob.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: You're far too experienced a reporter to try to think that I am less of experience-- experienced public figure, and we're both experienced and we're not going to go that way.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Well Mister Prime Minister--

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: I have enough politics here.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know-- you know that you have to ask these questions. And you've been around long enough to know that. Thank you very much for joining us this morning.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: You can try it's--

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Thank you, Bob.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Thank you, Sir.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Good to be with you.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Thank you.

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