Netanyahu: If we leave Jerusalem, Iran and Hamas will take control

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu called on Shas once again to quit the government following his meeting with US Vice President Richard Cheney in Jerusalem on Sunday morning.

“I say to my friends in Shas, don’t allow these negotiations on Jerusalem, which were confirmed by Foreign Minister (Tzipi) Livni on Friday. Quit the government now and prevent this danger,” Netanyahu told Ynet.

The opposition leader said that he had warned Cheney against the Iranian danger.

“I spoke to him about the need to remove the Iranian threat before (the Islamic republic) arms itself with a nuclear bomb. There are additional Iranian issues which must be prevented, including the need to prevent Iran from building its main bases in the region, from Gaza to Lebanon, and particularly in Jerusalem,” he noted.

“I made it clear to him that if we leave Jerusalem, Hamas, Iran and other forces affiliated with them will take control of it. They will threaten Jerusalem’s wellbeing, Israel’s security and the freedom of worship of millions of pilgrims and members of the different religions arriving in the city today,” Netanyahu said, noting that Cheney told him he was fully aware of the situation, as was US President George W. Bush.

The US vice president is scheduled to meet with several other Israeli leaders. After his meeting with Netanyahu, Cheney met with President Shimon Peres, and was later due to meet with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

‘Committed to Israel’s security’

Cheney is also expected to visit Ramallah, where he is due to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

On Saturday, Cheney told a joint press conference with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that “the United States backs Israel’s right to defend itself against rockets from Hamas-ruled Gaza and will not pressure the Jewish state to take steps that threaten its security.”

America’s commitment to Israel’s security is enduring and unshakable, as is Israel’s right to protect itself always against terrorism, rocket attacks and other attacks from forces dedicated to Israel’s destruction,” Cheney said, adding that “the United States will never pressure Israel to take steps that threaten its security.”

The vice president reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state, and assured Palestinian leaders that “they, too, can be certain of America’s goodwill” as it tries to help Israel and the Palestinians reach an accord,7340,L-3522337,00.html