Israel says it has nothing to do with US 'assassination' of Iranian general


'We were not involved and should not be dragged into it,' Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, traditionally a staunch ally of Donald Trump, unambiguously distanced himself and Israel from the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

"The assassination of Soleimani isn't an Israeli event but an American event," Netanyahu reportedly said to a meeting of Israel's security cabinet. "We were not involved and should not be dragged into it."

Israel's closeness to the United States likely prompted the unusual statement.

"Like other countries in the region, Israel is concerned that Iran will retaliate against it in order to avenge the killing of Soleimani," Axios reported. The outlet reported from sources within the Israeli government that Netanyahu said ministers should only respond to the killing by asserting that America has a right to defend itself.

In September, Netanyahu described Trump as his "dear friend," adding that "the Jewish State has never had a greater friend in the White House."

Democratic leaders have criticized Trump's actions, pointing out the risk to American security and global stability.

"We cannot put the lives of American servicemembers, diplomats and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions," Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement the night of the attack. "Tonight's airstrike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence.  America – and the world – cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return."

"This action may well have brought our nation closer to another endless war, exactly the kind of endless war the president promised he would not drag us into," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

"The worry here, of course, is that this is actually going to get more Americans, not less Americans, killed," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) told NPR.

The statement from Israel echoes many other world leaders who have expressed concern for the fallout from Trump's action.

"The secretary-general has consistently advocated for de-escalation in the Gulf," said Farhan Haq, spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. " This is a moment in which leaders must exercise maximum restraint. The world cannot afford another war in the Gulf."

"We are at a dangerous point of escalation. It is now important through prudence and restraint to contribute to de-escalation," said Ulrike Demmer, spokesperson for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"What is happening is what we feared: Tensions between the United States and Iran are increasing," French Secretary of State for European Affairs Amelie de Montchalin told a radio station.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.